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Sulfur Dioxide

Other Names



Sulfur Dioxide(SO2), a colorless gas with a pungent, suffocating odor, is a very water soluble, acidic gas.
SO2 is one of the US Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) six major regulated criteria pollutants(Tropospheric Ozone, Nitrogen dioxide, Sulfur dioxide, Lead, PM2.5 and PM 10 particulates). It irritates the eyes, nose, and lungs. High concentrations of SO2 can result in temporary breathing impairment. It is produced by combustion of coal, fuel oil, and gasoline, since these fuels contain sulfur in the combustion, and in the oxidation of naturally occurring sulfur gases. It is a precursor to sulfuric acid, which is a major constituent of acid rain. SO2 is injected into the stratosphere by volcanic eruptions. SO2 also is a major precursor to PM2.5, which is a significant health concern, and a main contributor to poor visibility.


(1) Atmospheric Chemistry Models (3) Health and Environment
(2) Air Quality Forecast Models (4) Climate Change

GES DISC Datasets

Quick Search for 'Sulfur Dioxide' with Mirador
Click on the corresponding 'Data access' links in the table below to access products containing specific parameter.

Parameter Units Platform /Instrument Data Products
Begin Date End Date Data Access Doc
Total Column Abundance of SO2 molecules/cm2 Aura/OMI 2004-08-15 Current OMSO2 Y
Profile of SO2 mixing ratio Aura/MLS 2004-08-08 Current ML2SO2 Y
SO2 Index none Earth Probe/TOMS 1996-07-25 2005-12-31 TOMSEPL2 Y
Nimbus-7/TOMS 1978-11-01 1993-05-06 TOMSN7L2 Y
SO2 Qualitative Flags none Aqua/AIRS 2002-08-30 Current AIRS Level2 Y
AIRS Level3 Y

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Last updated: Dec 02, 2011 02:21 PM ET