Half past seven in the morning, summit of Piton Maïdo. To the right of the belvedere car park, a road, closed to the public. A few hundred meters further on, a tall, slender building, perfectly embedded in the landscape, appears from behind the clouds. The Maïdo atmospheric observatory.
Inside, no strange occurrence that one could have imagined. But scientists and engineers having breakfast. Some of them spent much of the night working on atmospheric observations.
Jean-Pierre Cammas is director of the OSU-Réunion (observatory of sciences of the universe) a structure which brings together, at the University of La Réunion, research units, laboratories and observation stations. He affirms the essential place of the observatory in the study of the climate: “There are scientists from all over the world who come to work here. We have 18 engineers and technicians but who do not only deal with the observatory. Initially, the physical observatory of the atmosphere of Reunion (OPAR) was located in Moufia. But we realized the need to establish ourselves more widely, here in Maïdo”, he says.
On a national scale, to study the climate, the levels of observation are numerous and are not made solely from atmospheric observation. Yann Helllo is technical director of the OSU. According to him, the scientific interest behind these observations is to federate as many laboratories as possible working on similar themes: “At the University, we have eight laboratories specialized in the study of lagoons, the atmosphere, or again, from the biosphere. Interdisciplinary research is the key word to remember….