Why There’s a Skyscraper in the Amazon

The $9 billion, 1,000-ft. (305 m) Amazonian Tall Tower Observatory—now the tallest structure in South America—recently entered the final stages of construction. It will be inaugurated in August and fully operational by 2017. Here’s what Brazil and Germany, which co-funded the project, are hoping it will accomplish:

Gather data
The tower’s height and state-of-the- art instruments will enable scientists to monitor temperature, greenhouse-gas levels and other chemical changes in the atmosphere that contribute to extreme weather conditions such as droughts and floods.

Track changes
Because the tower is located in a remote area of the largest contiguous rainforest on Earth—it’s 100 miles (161 km) from the nearest city, Manaus—its measurements will give scientists unparalleled insights about climate change.

Save the world
The tower’s data will be readily available to scientists across the globe, who can use it to inform their recommendations for climate- change policy and sustainable development in the Amazon.