Articles | Volume 16, issue 18
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 16, 11497–11519, 2016

Special issue: Ten years of Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) observations...

Atmos. Chem. Phys., 16, 11497–11519, 2016

Research article 15 Sep 2016

Research article | 15 Sep 2016

A global catalogue of large SO2 sources and emissions derived from the Ozone Monitoring Instrument

Vitali E. Fioletov1, Chris A. McLinden1, Nickolay Krotkov2, Can Li2,3, Joanna Joiner1, Nicolas Theys4, Simon Carn5,6, and Mike D. Moran1 Vitali E. Fioletov et al.
  • 1Air Quality Research Division, Environment Canada, Toronto, ON, Canada
  • 2Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Green-belt, MD, USA
  • 3Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center, University of Maryland, College Park, MD, USA
  • 4Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy (BIRA-IASB), Brussels, Belgium
  • 5Department of Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences, Michigan Technological University, Houghton, MI 49931, USA
  • 6Department of Mineral Sciences, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC 20560, USA

Abstract. Sulfur dioxide (SO2) measurements from the Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) satellite sensor processed with the new principal component analysis (PCA) algorithm were used to detect large point emission sources or clusters of sources. The total of 491 continuously emitting point sources releasing from about 30 kt yr−1 to more than 4000 kt yr−1 of SO2 per year have been identified and grouped by country and by primary source origin: volcanoes (76 sources); power plants (297); smelters (53); and sources related to the oil and gas industry (65). The sources were identified using different methods, including through OMI measurements themselves applied to a new emission detection algorithm, and their evolution during the 2005–2014 period was traced by estimating annual emissions from each source. For volcanic sources, the study focused on continuous degassing, and emissions from explosive eruptions were excluded. Emissions from degassing volcanic sources were measured, many for the first time, and collectively they account for about 30 % of total SO2 emissions estimated from OMI measurements, but that fraction has increased in recent years given that cumulative global emissions from power plants and smelters are declining while emissions from oil and gas industry remained nearly constant. Anthropogenic emissions from the USA declined by 80 % over the 2005–2014 period as did emissions from western and central Europe, whereas emissions from India nearly doubled, and emissions from other large SO2-emitting regions (South Africa, Russia, Mexico, and the Middle East) remained fairly constant. In total, OMI-based estimates account for about a half of total reported anthropogenic SO2 emissions; the remaining half is likely related to sources emitting less than 30 kt yr−1 and not detected by OMI.

Short summary
We introduce the first space-based catalogue of SO2 emission sources seen by OMI. The inventory contains about 500 sources. They account for about a half of all SO2 emissions; the remaining half is likely related to sources emitting less than 30 kt yr−1 and not detected by OMI. The sources are grouped by type (volcanoes, power plants, oil- and gas-related sources, and smelters) and country. The catalogue presented herein can be used for verification of available SO2 emission inventories.
Final-revised paper