A poisonous sulfur cloud is moving to Germany. It comes from the volcano on La Palma. The concentration is extremely high, but is the volcanic cloud dangerous?
A gigantic poisonous sulfur cloud moves from La Palma to Europe. The volcanic cloud crosses Germany and moves into the Caribbean in the next few days. This is tweeted by Mark Parrington, Senior Scientist at the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS) of the ECMWF. To this end, Parrigton shares a forecast of the sulfur cloud. The volcanic cloud looks huge and apparently the concentration of sulfur gases is extremely high, also over Germany.
Source: La Palma!
Since the volcanic eruption on the holiday island of La Palma (September 19, 2021), thousands of tons of sulfur gases (SO₂) have been released into the atmosphere every day. Since then, emissions have also been monitored by EU Copernicus with the help of satellites from space. A volcanic cloud from La Palma has already moved to Spitsbergen . Perhaps some of you remember: on the day of the general election, of all places, the poisonous sulfur cloud reached Germany.
#LaPalmaEruption🌋— Copernicus EU (@CopernicusEU) September 28, 2021
The emissions of #SO2 into the atmosphere from the ongoing eruption in #LaPalma continue
⬇️Sulphur dioxide total column on 28 Sept at 20:00 UTC will reach Svalbard, as forecasted by our Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service #CAMS (@Windycom visualisation) pic.twitter.com/BNKhqBFJjE
Sulfur gases, as well as sulfur dioxide SO₂ , are invisible. Gas clouds can be observed via satellite with so-called spectrometers or radiometers. According to CAMS, it monitors the effects of volcanic eruptions on the composition of the atmosphere when sulfur dioxide and other pollutants are released from the volcano.
Are substances in volcanic cloud dangerous for us?
The volcanic clouds unsettle many. Sulfur dioxide is a poisonous gas. It can irritate the mucous membranes. Cause eye and breathing problems. But the sulfur cloud from La Palma is not a danger for people.
“The effects of the SO₂ released by Cumbre Vieja on surface weather and air quality are likely to be very small,” said Mark Parrington, senior scientist at the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service of the ECMWF, in a September press release. And further: “Most of the emitted SO2 is much higher in the atmosphere, especially if you are further away from the source, and could only be visible as a light haze in the sky.” However, sulfur dioxide SO₂ can damage plants. Acid rain is deadly to vegetation. He makes grass and pastures wither, pollutes water sources.
Sulphur dioxide from #CumbreVieja #LaPalma continuing across Europe & Atlantic➡️Caribbean this week. @CopernicusECMWF Atmosphere Monitoring Service @ECMWF 18 Oct 00 UTC forecast visualized by @Windycom https://t.co/oSn9e3c5VE. Total column SO2 with assumed injection ~5km. pic.twitter.com/1nRgNOC7eD— Mark Parrington (@m_parrington) October 18, 2021
Volcanic eruption on La Palma: is the sulfur cloud dangerous for people?
- In addition to sulfur dioxide (SO₂), the main components of almost all volcanic gases are water vapor and carbon dioxide (CO₂). The volcanic gases play an important role in predicting volcanic eruptions. A volcanic eruption is often heralded by increased gas emissions. If sulfur gases are to be measured, an outbreak may be imminent.
- Sulfur dioxide is a poisonous gas. It can irritate the mucous membranes. Cause eye and breathing problems. But the sulfur cloud from La Palma is not a danger for people.
- Most of the emitted SO2 is much higher in the atmosphere, especially if you are further away from the source, and could only be visible as a light haze in the sky.
How dangerous is the volcanic cloud in Germany? German weather service gives the all-clear
The German Weather Service (DWD) also sees no cause for concern. In fact, quite high concentrations of sulfur dioxide, for example, were measured in the atmosphere. At measuring stations close to the ground, however, there is “next to nothing”.
In the atmosphere there will be a “chemical cleaning”, in the case of precipitation the rain could be “a little more acidic” than usual, it said. In view of the temporary phenomenon, however, this does not mean any increased risk to the environment. “20 or 30 years ago we still had such pH values on a regular basis.”
At the DWD, the phones have been running hot in the past few days. Reports of poisonous clouds after the volcanic eruption on La Palma led to numerous calls from concerned people in Germany. There is no end of the volcanic eruption in sight on La Palma.