Recently, a research group at Hefei Institutes of Physical Science (HFIPS) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) analyzed the distribution characteristics of sulfur dioxide (SO2) and bromine monoxide (BrO) from the Hunga Tonga–Hunga Ha'apai (HTHH) eruption, using the observation data from EMI-02, a self-developed satellite-based atmospheric trace gas differential absorption spectrometer. The study was published in Remote Sensing.
SO2 and BrO in volcanic eruption plumes are important gas components that affect the global environment and climate, destroy stratospheric and tropospheric ozone and form sulphate aerosols, which can lead to acid rain and global cooling.
In this study, the researchers found that the two gas components spread west and southeast respectively, and that the HTHH eruption emitted significantly less SO2 compared to the 1991 Pinatubo eruption, despite reaching an altitude of 57 km.
To explain these two unusual phenomena, the researchers reviewed the literature on submarine volcanoes. They found that SO2 from submarine volcanic eruptions could be removed by wet deposition and the release of BrO from volcanic magma melt occurred later than SO2.
By combining the horizontal and vertical wind field data with satellite observations on the time axis, the researchers concluded that HTHH volcano experienced three different intensities of eruptions. The differences in eruption height and time had led to the transport of SO2 and BrO in different directions in the southern hemisphere.
"Our study would provide important support for the research of the effects of volcanic eruptions and magma degassing processes," said LUO Yuhan, one of the authors of this study.
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