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Sulfur dioxide levels in China declined dramatically even though coal usage increased by approximately 50% and electricity generation grew by over 100%, India's sulfur dioxide emissions increased by 50 percent over the past decade.

Comparison of Sulfur Dioxide Emissions in China and India
Two maps compare total annual sulfur dioxide amounts for India and China during 2005 (left) and 2016 based on Ozone Monitoring Instrument measurements. Purple depicts the highest concentrations while white depicts the lowest. Note the decrease in size of the purple region over northeastern China.
Image Credit: Chris McLinden, Environment and Climate Change Canada

 

"The rapid decrease of sulfur dioxide emissions in China far exceeds expectations and projections, This suggests that China is implementing sulfur dioxide controls beyond what climate modelers have taken into account.

Sulfur dioxide levels in China declined dramatically even though coal usage increased by approximately 50 percent and electricity generation grew by over 100 percent,

This suggests that much of the reduction is coming from controlling emissions."
Can Li, an associate research scientist in UMD's Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center

India's sulfur dioxide emissions increased by 50 percent over the past decade. The country opened its largest coal-fired power plant in 2012 and has yet to implement emission controls like China.

A new technique that combines wind and improved SO2 data was employed to develop an OMI-based emission catalog for nearly 500 sources around the globe. This technique enabled the detection of ~40 sources missing from the conventional bottom-up inventories and provided the first emission estimates for a number of degassing volcanoes in remote locations.

SO2 also reacts with other chemicals in the air to form acids, which fall to the earth as acid rain. Acid rain damages forests and crops, changes the makeup of soil, and makes lakes and streams acidic and unsuitable for fish.

The study was published in the journal Scientific Reports on November 9, 2017.

Source: University of Maryland study, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, eurekalert

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