Investigating Sulfur Dioxide Transportation in San Jose Costa Rica

Faculty Sponsor

Gary Morris


Arts and Sciences



Presentation Type

Poster Presentation

Symposium Date

Summer 7-28-2014


The sulfur dioxide concentration in San Jose, Costa Rica was monitored to investigate the transportation of volcanic plumes from nearby active volcanoes – especially Mount Turrialba. The sulfur dioxide plumes were investigated using Dual Electrochemical Cell sondes and a Thermo Scientific detector Model 43i-TLE (Trace Level Enhanced). The directional sources of sulfur dioxide were investigated by comparing the wind direction obtained from a weather center at San Pedro with the ground data from the 43i detector. The wind direction comparison indicated that higher SO2 concentrations (between 1 and 16 ppb) were most commonly measured with winds from the NE and SE. The higher SO2 (2 ppb +) plumes were also investigated using HYSPLIT (Hybrid Single Particle Lagrangian Integrated Trajectory Model). These trajectories gave similar results, often indicating a plume intersection with Mount Turrialba to the NNE. The study will continue to track the SO2 plumes for comparison with satellite data and intends to investigate the ozone diurnal cycle over the course of the next year.

Biographical Information about Author(s)

Kelsey Larson is a senior chemistry and physics double major interested in atmospheric transportation of pollutants. This is the second year she has worked with Prof. Gary Morris on TOPP - the Tropospheric Ozone Pollution Project. TOPP's new project is focused on the transportation of Sulfur Dioxide from a nearby active volcano, which fits perfectly with her interests. In fact, the first year working with TOPP really pushed her interests towards atmospheric chemistry and physics, which she plans to continue studying in graduate school.

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