Should we be worried about the sulfur cloud that will fly over Toulouse after the eruption of the volcano in the Canaries?
Through David Saint Sernin
Friday September 24, images from Eastern Pyrenees are meaningful. In this department, despite the absence of clouds, the sky has been very hazy since the beginning of the morning.
Cloudy sailing in the Pyrénées-Orientales
The reason ? The cloud loaded with, among other things, sulfur dioxide (SO2), which formed above the Canary Islands, following the eruption of the volcano Cumbre Vieja, crossed the natural barrier of Pyrenees.
According to Weather Pyrenees, the phenomenon is accentuated by a rise in dust from the Sahara, also pushed by the southerly flow. The sky of the Catalan country is very loaded with various particles.
Same image in the Hautes-Pyrénées
The same veil was observed on the heights of the Hautes-Pyrénées:
On the way to Taillon this morning, mists of dust and SO2 again mediocre air quality and visibility that goes with it 📷 @ Meteo_Pyrénées via gracian.idrt # pyrenees rashes #cumbrevieja pic.twitter.com/wrs0YMrtVZ
– Weather Pyrenees (@Meteo_Pyrenees) September 24, 2021
According to the Canary Islands Volcanological Institute (Involcan), the eruption of Cumbre Vieja could last “Between 24 and 84 days”, with the key to significant gas and smoke emissions over this period.
According to the Involcan, between 6,000 and 11,500 tonnes of sulfur dioxide (SO2) are spit out into the atmosphere daily.
“No impact on health” in Toulouse
Fr Occitania, the consequences are already visual. Will they be on health? Not really according to Pascal Boureau, former forecaster at Météo France in Toulouse. He explains :
At our latitudes, there should be no impact on health, especially since the particles will be at very high altitudes. In Toulouse and in the region, it is to be expected that there will be a little dust, which can give sunsets even more beautiful than usual.
Higher concentration of sulfur at altitude
As Keraunos, the French observatory for tornadoes and severe thunderstorms, points out, the densest concentration of particles should be at an altitude includes between 1000 m and 3000 m.
The highest concentrations will be present at inhabited altitudes, but this will remain below allowable thresholds.
The SO2 concentrations from the eruption of the volcano at #Canaris will increase over the Mediterranean basin and in France during the weekend, under the effect of a south-westerly flow.
They will be especially sensitive between 1000 and 3000 m altitude. CAMS model @CopernicusEU https://t.co/w1mleirm56 pic.twitter.com/Yj3E4iAQLx
– Keraunos (@KeraunosObs) September 23, 2021
“No significant impact on air quality”, according to Atmo
In Toulouse and Occitanie, the impact of sulfur dioxide (S02) will be very limited on air quality, as evidenced by the bulletin from Atmo Occitanie which indicates :
“The air mass from the Canaries loaded with pollutants from volcanic activity in this sector for several days should cross Occitania this weekend. In view of the data currently available at local and national level, Atmo Occitanie does not identify any significant impact of this air mass on ambient air quality. An update on this situation will be made on Saturday morning ”.
With the rainy disturbance expected this weekend, the presence of suspect cause acid rain.
Rain is “acidic” when its pH is below 5-5.6. With the discharges from human activities, the rainwater is already acidic, but the presence of the sulfur cloud could acidify the rainwater during opening hours.
The acidity of the water can have consequences: acid rain affects the flora, can impoverish the soil and pollute the water.
These phenomena are observed over time. Nothing like this is expected in Occitania in the specific case of this cloud, the effects of which will not be felt over time.
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