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ATB: NOAA's Mauna Loa Atmospheric Baseline Observatory NET-ZERO Initiative

ATB: NOAA's Mauna Loa Atmospheric Baseline Observatory NET-ZERO Initiative Online

Wednesday, June 26, 2024
2:00pm - 3:00pm Eastern Time - US & Canada (change)
This is an online event. Event URL will be sent via registration email.
All Department of Commerce Staff

Christy Smith smiling at the camera leaning on a stone wall.Join us for our next installment of the Around the Bureaus series, where Christy Smith, the acting lead of the NOAA Global Monitoring Laboratory's (NOAA/GML) Observatory and Global Network Operations Division, will outline Mauna Loa Atmospheric Baseline Observatory’s (MLO) significant role in atmospheric science, its contributions to climate research, and its ongoing efforts to become a sustainable and resilient research facility.

The NOAA/GML MLO in Hawaii, conducts over 250 different atmospheric measurements and is globally-recognized as the premier atmospheric science research site on Earth. International climate research programs calibrate and compare their data to MLO with some records beginning in 1957. The increasing atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide and methane were first established at MLO over six decades ago. MLO supports over 26 research programs from other agencies and university programs that all contribute data to the MLO archives. The atmospheric composition change data from MLO is reported to Congress under mandate and used regularly in global climate assessments.

NOAA/GML began a multi-year site redevelopment effort at MLO in 2021, planning to replace aging, inefficient infrastructure and buildings with consolidated facilities constructed to modern codes with sustainability in mind. The redevelopment plan supports Executive Order (E.O.) 14057, Catalyzing America’s Clean Energy Economy Through Federal Sustainability and E.O. 14008, Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad. NOAA has committed to using “green” practices and materials wherever possible and incorporating LEED principles into the construction effort.

On November 28, 2022 all measurements from MLO ceased when a lava flow cut the power line and buried over a mile of the access road to the observatory. This disruption to operations and the planned construction highlighted the need to build additional resiliency into the site’s critical infrastructure. NOAA/GML seized the opportunity and focused efforts on moving the site to be powered 100% by solar. This initiative will power atmospheric research without fossil fuels and significantly improve the site’s operational climate and infrastructure resiliency. MLO already captures its water needs from roof systems, so this effort will make the observatory the first Department of Commerce facility to be NET-ZERO for both electricity and water.

About Ms. Smith: Christy Smith is the acting lead of the NOAA Global Monitoring Laboratory's (GML) Observatory and Global Network Operations Division, located in Boulder, Colorado. Her lab division operates four atmospheric baseline observatories and the aircraft, tall tower, and surface measurement sites that make up NOAA's Global Greenhouse Gas Reference Network. Prior to supporting GML's remote field operations, Christy served as a NOAA Corps officer where she charted the Alaskan coastline and spent one year as GML's South Pole Station Lead. Ms. Smith is both excited and proud to be part of a team bringing sustainability and renewable energy to federal facilities.

About Around the Bureaus: This series showcases the diverse work of Department of Commerce employees, breaks down silos, and encourages cross-bureau collaboration. If you would like to participate in a future presentation, please reach out to the library for more information.

Registration is required. There are 9,762 seats available.

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For accommodation requests, including sign language interpreting, please email us at research@doc.gov.