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Sulphur dioxide from Caribbean volcano reaches India, WMO confirms

Topics Covered: Pollution related issues.

Sulphur dioxide from Caribbean volcano reaches India, WMO confirms:


Context:

The sulphur dioxide (SO2) emissions from a volcanic eruption in the Caribbean (from La Soufriere volcano eruption) reached India on April 16, 2021 sparking fear of increased pollution levels in the northern parts of the country and acid rain.

  • Scientists have also found evidence for the entry of sulphate aerosol particles (precursors for sulphuric acid) in the stratosphere, the second layer of the Earth’s atmosphere. This might be the reason that the particles have reached as far as India and will likely travel beyond to reach South East Asia.

Impact and Implications:

  • The most significant climate impacts from volcanic injections into the stratosphere come from the conversion of sulphur dioxide to sulphuric acid, which condenses rapidly in the stratosphere to form fine sulphate aerosols.
  • The aerosols increase the reflection of radiation from the Sun back into space, cooling the Earth’s lower atmosphere or troposphere.

Sulfur Dioxide- Source:

  • The largest source of SO2 in the atmosphere is the burning of fossil fuels by power plants and other industrial facilities.
  • Smaller sources of SO2 emissions include: industrial processes such as extracting metal from ore; natural sources such as volcanoes; and locomotives, ships and other vehicles and heavy equipment that burn fuel with a high sulfur content.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About Sulphur Dioxide.
  2. Sources and impacts on Environment.
  3. La Soufriere volcano.
  4. Various pollutants produced from a volcanic eruption.

Sources: down to earth.