Articles | Volume 17, issue 9
Research article
15 May 2017
Research article |  | 15 May 2017

OMI satellite observations of decadal changes in ground-level sulfur dioxide over North America

Shailesh K. Kharol, Chris A. McLinden, Christopher E. Sioris, Mark W. Shephard, Vitali Fioletov, Aaron van Donkelaar, Sajeev Philip, and Randall V. Martin

Abstract. Sulfur dioxide (SO2) has a significant impact on the environment and human health. We estimated ground-level sulfur dioxide (SO2) concentrations from the Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) using SO2 profiles from the Global Environmental Multi-scale – Modelling Air quality and CHemistry (GEM-MACH) model over North America for the period of 2005–2015. OMI-derived ground-level SO2 concentrations (r = 0. 61) and trends (r = 0. 74) correlated well with coincident in situ measurements from air quality networks over North America. We found a strong decreasing trend in coincidently sampled ground-level SO2 from OMI (−81 ± 19 %) and in situ measurements (−86 ± 13 %) over the eastern US for the period of 2005–2015, which reflects the implementation of stricter pollution control laws, including flue-gas desulfurization (FGD) devices in power plants. The spatially and temporally contiguous OMI-derived ground-level SO2 concentrations can be used to assess the impact of long-term exposure to SO2 on the health of humans and the environment.

Final-revised paper