The monitoring station on the Chacaltaya peak was founded in December 2011 and is currently considered to be the world’s highest monitoring station focused solely on measuring changes in the atmospheric composition.
An extraordinary collection of research groups from France, Italy, Germany, Sweden and Switzerland support the initiative led by the Bolivian Universidad Mayor de San Andres. The station recently also became part of Global Atmosphere Watch, an initiative of the World Meteorological Organization.
The building itself is rickety, but houses an advanced laboratory equipped to measure a large array of atmospheric variables. Outside of the building, gauges and instruments are set up in many different locations. The amount of data being collected by these devices, at an altitude of over 5,000 meters, is huge. Measurements include monitoring of gases, characterization of particle properties, as well as radiation and meteorology.
In particular, the station observes the evolution of the atmosphere to investigate the effects of global climate change. The thus obtained data is used for the study of atmospheric trends, the improvement of predictive models, the ground calibration of satellite measurements and the discussion and assessment of climate policies.
The Bolivian scientists and technicians travel to the station regularly during workdays. Scientist Isabel Moreno is one of them, one who is very dedicated to the job she performs. Worried about the future, she tries to contribute to the global understanding of the worldwide changes.