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Trans-Boundary Volcanic SO2 Detected over Pakistan from Satellite Observations during the Time Period 2004–2012

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Volume: 14 | Issue: 6 | Pages: 1543-1557
DOI: 10.4209/aaqr.2013.12.0361
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Palwasha Khattak1, Muhammad Fahim Khokhar 1,2, Saud Ahmed Khan1

  • 1 Institute of environmental sciences and engineering, National University of Sciences and Technology Islamabad, (null), Pakistan
  • 2 Visiting Scientist, Max-Planck Institute for Chemistry Mainz, (null), Germany


Volcanic eruptions in the African region during last decade have affected atmosphere SO2 of Pakistan.
Dalaffilla eruption in 2008 and Nabro eruption in 2011 contributed caused the major effects.
Tor Zawar volcano of Pakistan erupted in January 2010 and no SO2 was detected.
HYSPLIT have confirmed the trans-boundary SO2 plume pathways.
Trans-boundary SO2 plume over Pakistan was present in upper troposphereic region.


This study emphasizes on the amount of trans-boundary Sulfur dioxide (SO2) present in the atmosphere of Pakistan as a consequence of various global volcanic eruptions, by using satellite data. The data products of SCanning Imaging Absorption spectroMeter for Atmospheric CHartographY (SCIAMACHY), Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) and Global Ozone Monitoring Experiment-2 (GOME-2) were used for the time period of 2004–2012. SO2 columns retrieved with Differential Optical Absorption Spectroscopy (DOAS) technique were used to perform both spatial and temporal analyses. The Nabro volcano eruption during 2011 had caused high SO2 columns over East Africa, Middle East and South Asian regions. Daily satellite observations were used to study SO2 plume pathway during this event. Other significant volcanic eruptions and their effects on atmospheric composition of Pakistan are also discussed. Back trajectory analysis is also performed to track the origin of air masses enriched with SO2 column densities detected over Pakistan. Maximum SO2 column densities of 9.4 Dobson Units (DU) were measured over Pakistan caused by Dalafilla volcanic eruption during November 2008.


Trans-boundary SO2 Volcanic eruption Satellite observations Pakistan

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