(Source: BIRA-IASB, DLR, KNMI)
Sulphur dioxide, SO2, enters the atmosphere as a result of both natural phenomena and anthropogenic activities, such as combustion of fossil fuels, oxidation of organic material in soils, volcanic eruptions, and biomass burning.
Coal burning is the single largest man-made source of sulphur dioxide, accounting for about 50% of annual global emissions, with oil burning accounting for a further 25 to 30%. Sulphur dioxide reacts on the surface of a variety of airborne solid particles (aerosols), is soluble in water and can be oxidised within airborne water droplets, producing sulphuric acid. This acidic pollution can be transported by wind over many hundreds of kilometres, and is deposited as acid rain.
Furthermore, changes in the abundance of SO2 have an impact on atmospheric chemistry and on the radiation field, and hence on the climate. Consequently, global observations of SO2 are important for atmospheric and climate research.
Note: Emissions of SO2 related to volcanic eruptions are covered by the Support to Aviation Control Service.
People's Republic of China -- long-time average
The pictures can be downloaded in different formats from the list below. Maps with black coastlines and white country borders show up best on the screen; maps with white coastlines and black country borders show up best on paper.
People's Republic of China -- monthly and yearly averages
Pictures of the averages over individual years. Maps with black coastlines and white country borders show up best on the screen; maps with white coastlines and black country borders show up best on paper.
Images of yearly data in another resolution and/or other data format
Jos van Geffen / Ronald van der A, last modified: November 2008