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Discussion papers | Copyright
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 26 Apr 2018

Research article | 26 Apr 2018

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This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP).

Photochemical box-modelling of volcanic SO2 oxidation: isotopic constraints

Tommaso Galeazzo1,2, Slimane Bekki1, Erwan Martin2, Joël Savarino3, and Stephen R. Arnold4 Tommaso Galeazzo et al.
  • 1LATMOS/IPSL, Sorbonne Université, UVSQ, Université Paris-Saclay, CNRS, Paris, France
  • 2ISTeP, Sorbonne Université, CNRS, Paris, France
  • 3IGE, Univ. Grenoble Alpes, CNRS, IRD, INP-G, 38000 Grenoble, France
  • 4Institute for Climate and Atmospheric Science, School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK

Abstract. The photochemical box-model CiTTyCAT is used to analyse the absence of oxygen mass-independent anomalies (O-MIF) in volcanic sulphates produced in the troposphere. An aqueous sulphur oxidation module is implemented in the model and coupled to an oxygen isotopic scheme describing the transfer of O-MIF during the oxidation of SO2 by OH in the gas-phase, and by H2O2, O3 and O2 catalysed by TMI in the liquid phase. Multiple model simulations are performed in order to explore the relative importance of the various oxidation pathways for a range of plausible conditions in volcanic plumes. Note that the chemical conditions prevailing in dense volcanic plumes are radically different from those prevailing in the surrounding background air. The first salient finding is that, according to model calculations, OH is expected to carry a very significant O-MIF in sulphur-rich volcanic plumes and, hence, that the volcanic sulphate produced in the gas phase would have a very significant positive isotopic enrichment. The second finding is that, although H2O2 is a major oxidant of SO2 throughout the troposphere, it is very rapidly consumed in sulphur-rich volcanic plumes. As a result, H2O2 is found to be a minor oxidant for volcanic SO2. According to the simulations, oxidation of SO2 by O3 is negligible because volcanic aqueous phases are too acidic. The model predictions of minor or negligible sulphur oxidation by H2O2 and O3, two oxidants carrying large O-MIF, are consistent with the absence of O-MIF seen in most isotopic measurements of volcanic tropospheric sulphate. The third finding is that oxidation by O2/TMI in volcanic plumes could be very substantial and, in some cases, dominant, notably because the rates of SO2 oxidation by OH, H2O2, and O3 are vastly reduced in a volcanic plume compared to the background air. Only cases where sulphur oxidation by O2/TMI is very dominant can explain the isotopic composition of volcanic tropospheric sulphate.

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Tommaso Galeazzo et al.
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Short summary
Volcanic plumes are constrained environments where the concentrations of emitted species and aerosols are high. Volcanic emissions are a major source of pollutants for the atmosphere. Notably, in high concentrations volcanic sulfate can lead to pollution events, crop damages and acid rain. Besides, the origins of volcanic sulfate are still difficult to assess. We provide some model constraints on volcanic sulfate formation, with implications for its lifetime and impacts on regional air quality.
Volcanic plumes are constrained environments where the concentrations of emitted species and...