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India's Sulfur Dioxide Emissions on rise
Dec 30, 2013

Atmospheric sulfur dioxide is produced in nature primarily by volcanoes, humans emit it to the atmosphere from the combustion of fuels with significant amounts of sulfur-containing impurities and from the smelting of metals such as copper and nickel. The gas contributes to the formation of acid rain and in high concentrations can cause respiratory problems. It's also a precursor for one type of suspended particles, sulfate aerosols, which can affect the microphysical and optical properties of clouds, an effect that remains difficult to measure and a large cause of uncertainty in climate models.

According to a new report of NASA  emissions of sulfur dioxide – an atmospheric pollutant with both health and climate impacts – have increased across India in recent years,

The analysis of data captured by an instrument on NASA's Aura satellite found that emissions of sulfur dioxide from Indian power plants have increased by more than 60 percent between 2005 and 2012,

India surpassed the United States in 2010 to become the world's second largest emitter of sulfur dioxide, after China. About half of India's emissions come from the coal-fired power sector.

India's Central Pollution Control Board noted in a 2012 report that the national mean concentration of sulfur dioxide has declined from 2001-2010, an estimate based on data from 361 ground-based monitoring stations. However, most of the stations are located in urban areas, where regulations have indeed reduced pollution locally. Only about 70 stations in India collect measurements in the industrial areas near the source of power plant emissions.

The technique used:

The Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) which measures ozone and other key air quality components including sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide, and collects data over the same locations at the same local time daily was used for calculating sulphur-dioxide content.

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