Science Diary: Mims Observatory
music; ambience: water runoff
â€œWell, I came up today to do some ozone calibrations. I build and test instruments that measure the ozone layer, and Iâ€™ve been doing that for 17 years. And there was quite a major thunderstorm when I got here today. And not only did it rain a lot, but it left a lot of hail. So the place is white. Itâ€™s quite striking. Itâ€™s just beautiful.â€
ambience: water runoff
Citizen scientist Forrest Mims is at Hawaiiâ€™s Mauna Loa observatory, one of the worldâ€™s most important meteorological research stations, where scientists measure the atmosphere, weather, and climate. Welcome to Pulse of the Planetâ€™s Science Diaries, a glimpse of the world of science from the inside.
â€œNow Iâ€™m about to walk into the Keeling building, which is the original building. This was built in 1956. This is where the buildup of the earthâ€™s carbon dioxide was first discovered back in the late 50s. The instrument is still here, but it no longer works. Itâ€™s been replaced by a newer instrument. Iâ€™m standing in front of instruments that measure the ozone, sulfur dioxide, and particles in the atmosphere. We have almost a 50 year record of measuring these gasses and particles in the atmosphere.â€
Forrest Mims visits Mauna Loa annually to calibrate instruments heâ€™s developed, which measure a variety of atmospheric data.
â€œMauna Loa Observatory has a special rooftop deck, where they have placed specialized instruments that measure sunlight, including instruments that measure the ozone layer. And thatâ€™s my specialty, so Iâ€™ve often made measurements here. Thereâ€™s two Canadian instruments that do that. And then thereâ€™s a New Zealand instrument that measures ultraviolet. There are instruments that measure photosynthetic radiation and ultraviolet for the department of agriculture, and a host of other very significant instruments.â€
Check out Forrest Mimsâ€™ blog on pulseplanet.com.
Pulse of the Planetâ€™s Science Diaries are made possible by the National Science Foundation. Iâ€™m Jim Metzner.