MIT and the Government of Rwanda have collaborated to build this world-class observatory on Mt. Mugogo measuring climate change and the atmospheric species forcing climate change.
This AGAGE station, the first in all of Africa, is located on the summit of Mt. Mugogo – a rural area about 70 km from Kigali, the capital city of Rwanda, and 13 km away from the nearest town of Musanze. Seven-day back trajectories of air masses sampled at Mt. Mugogo stretch Northeast as far as Saudi Arabia and the Indian West Coast. In the Southeast direction the air masses come from as far away as Madagascar. The air masses from the East travel over the East African region characterized by a high population density, urban areas and intense agricultural activities. West of Mt. Mugogo, air parcels come mainly from the equatorial forests in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Central African Republic. Measurements taken at Mount Mugogo are also occasionally influenced by local sources identified by enhanced black carbon aerosol and carbon monoxide levels.
The Climate Observatory Project evolved from discussions in 2008-2009 between HE President Paul Kagame, his ministers, and the MIT administration. The observatory is now led and run by Rwandan researchers, advised by MIT scientists.
Through this observatory program, Rwandan researchers are gaining the capability using state of the art computer models to calculate regional greenhouse gas sources and sinks, climate change, and air pollution. The observatory data is also used for University of Rwanda (UR) student thesis projects, and MIT is working with UR faculty on their new Atmospheric and Climate Science Master’s degree and undergraduate courses. The Climate Observatory Project is also aiding in development of air pollution measurements for human health objectives, led by the Rwanda Environmental Management Authority (REMA). The Climate Observatory Project is under Rwanda Space Agency.
The data from Mt. Mugogo will be added to the AGAGE website once internally validated and the first data published in peer-reviewed journals (expected in 2018). A preview can be found in the 2017 MIT doctoral thesis of Dr. J. Gasore (download from web.mit.edu/rprinn)