John Wheeler: The measurement of carbon dioxide on Mauna Loa has stopped because the volcano is erupting.
A lava flow from the now-erupting volcano has cut power to the site.
FARGO — The continuous measurement of atmospheric carbon dioxide at the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii has been interrupted because a lava flow from the now-erupting volcano has cut power to the site. The high mountain's location is rocky and far-removed from any contamination from industry or plant life. It has been measuring the gas most associated with human-caused Climate Change for over 60 years, during which time carbon dioxide has increased from around 310 parts per million (ppm) to more than 420 ppm.
It is this chemical change in our atmosphere that is the origin of the concern about the changing climate and rising sea level. The interruption of data from the Mauna Loa observatory will have only limited impact on climate research as there are numerous collaborative sites in operation around the world. Data was also interrupted during a volcanic eruption in 1984 and also by a temporary lack of funding in the 1960s.