Measurements at the Mauna Loa Observatory stopped after the 2022 eruption of the Mauna Loa volcano, when lava flow crossed the access road and took out power lines to the facility. The observatory remains inaccessible by vehicle and without power from the local utility company.

Observatory staff has established limited solar power in four observatory buildings and restored approximately 33 percent of the measurements onsite, including the Global Monitoring Laboratory and Scripps critical CO2 records and other atmospheric measurements.

Media can contact: Theo Stein (303) 819-7409 ( or Karin Vergoth 303-632-6413‬ (


American Samoa is located in the middle of the South Pacific, about midway between Hawaii and New Zealand. It is characterized by year-round warmth and humidity, lush green mountains, and the strong Samoan culture. The observatory is situated on the eastern most point of Tutuila Island at Cape Matatula.

Samoa Lidar Building


In 2005 an aerosol lidar was installed at the NWS facility at Pago Pago Airport. The lidar is operated by observatory personnel. The new building is designated for lidar operations and for the ozonesonde preparation. The lidar was built and tested at Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii, and was due to be installed in 2004 but delayed by damage to the baseline observatory from Cyclone Heta in January of 2004. Including the SMO lidar, there are now active monitoring lidars at 40°N (THD), 19°N (MLO), 14°S (SMO), and 45°S (Lauder, New Zealand) that bracket the important tropical region.

Lead Investigator(s):

Dr. John E. Barnes
808-933-6965 (x222)
Dave Hoffman

Date Started:


Related Programs:

Mauna Loa (HI) Lidar
Boulder (CO) Lidar
Trinidad Head (CA) Lidar
Camera Lidar
General Lidar Info

Lidar Specifications

Station Alt: 77 m
Latitude: 14.232 S
Longitude: 170.563 W
Time Zone: GMT-11
Laser Type: Nd:YAG
Frequency: Weekly
Acq Board: AMCS-USB
# Channels: 4
(nm) used: 532, 1064

Samoa Lidar Laser firing
Samoa lidar system