LIHUE — The next time you hop across the Pacific Ocean, you could be helping with climate change research while you’re reading the in-flight magazine.
The Hawaiian Airlines’ A330 wide-body aircraft is now equipped to monitor Earth’s atmosphere and send data back to a worldwide database.
The goal is to aid in collecting data to measure global climate change.
“Climate change carries significant consequences, particularly for Hawaii and our Pacific Island neighbors, so we are honored to join this important research project,” said Jon Snook, Hawaiian Airlines chief operating officer.
Hawaiian Airlines is partnering with the In-service Aircraft for a Global Monitoring System (IAGOS), which is a European research infrastructure that focuses on creating a global observation system for monitoring the atmosphere.
It’s a not-for-profit association under the co-coordination of the Centre Nationnal de la Recherche Scientifique in France and Forschungszentrum Juelich in Germany.
The goal is to attach autonomous instruments to commercial and passenger aircraft to collect data in-transit along already established routes.
Hawaiian’s A330 aircraft was outfitted with the IAGOS equipment in early 2017 and was activated Oct. 23.
The system is located under the cockpit and attached to probes in the front-left fuselage that autonomously perform atmospheric air samples from takeoff to landing, according to a press release from Hawaiian Airlines.
Those probes record high-altitude greenhouse gas measurements and retrieve information about icing conditions that may be helpful for aircraft safety studies.
Monitoring quality on Hawaiian Airline’s transpacific routes will help fill in some blanks for IAGOS, which gets what information it can from the Mauna Lona Observatory satellites currently.
“It will add significantly to improving understanding of changes in Earth’s climate, making better weather forecasts and ensuring recovery of stratospheric ozone,” said James Butler, director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Global Monitoring Division and chairman of the IAGOS Science Advisory Board.
Hawaiian Airlines operates 170 jet flights daily between the Hawaiian Islands and offers nonstop service to Hawaii from 11 U.S. gateway cities. Systemwide, the airline totals more than 250 daily flights.
“As we continue to introduce millions of guests each year to Hawaii’s spectacular beauty, it’s gratifying to know our flights are also providing crucial data to the scientific community and meteorological agencies so we can better understand and address weather changes,” said Snook.