Spatial and Temporal Variations in SO2 and PM2.5 Levels from 2007-2018 K¯ılauea Volcano, Hawai‘i Liu E, Schmidt A, Roberts T, Pfeffer M, Brooks B, Mather T, et al. Frontiers in Earth Science

Whitty, R. and Ilyinskaya, E. and Mason, E. and Wieser, P. and Liu, E. J. and Schmidt, A. and Roberts, T. and Pfeffer, M. and Brooks, B. and Mather, T. and Edmonds, M. and Elias, T. and Schneider, D. J. and Oppenheimer, C. and Dybwad, A. and Nadeau, P. (2020) Spatial and Temporal Variations in SO2 and PM2.5 Levels from 2007-2018 K¯ılauea Volcano, Hawai‘i Liu E, Schmidt A, Roberts T, Pfeffer M, Brooks B, Mather T, et al. Frontiers in Earth Science. Frontiers in Earth Science. ISSN 2296-6463

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Among the hazards posed by volcanoes are the emissions of gases and particles that can affect air quality and damage agriculture and infrastructure. A recent intense episode of volcanic degassing associated with severe impacts on air quality accompanied the 2018 Lower East Rift Zone (LERZ) eruption of K¯ılauea volcano, Hawai‘i. This resulted in a major increase in gas emission rates with respect to usual emission values for this volcano, along with a shift in the source of the dominant plume to a populated area in the lower flank of the volcano. This led to reduced air quality in downwind communities. We analyse open-access data from the permanent air quality monitoring networks operated by the Hawai‘i Department of Health (HDOH) and National Park Service (NPS), and report on measurements of atmospheric sulfur dioxide (SO2) between 2007 - 2018 and PM2.5 (aerosol particulate matter with diameter <2.5 μm) between 2010 - 2018. Additional air quality data were collected through a community-operated network of low-cost PM2.5 sensors during the 2018 LERZ eruption. From 2007 - 2018 the two most significant escalations in K¯ılauea’s volcanic emissions were: the summit eruption that began in 2008 (K¯ılauea emissions averaged 5 - 6 kt/day SO2 from 2008 until summit activity decreased in May 2018) and the LERZ eruption in 2018 when SO2 emission rates reached a monthly average of 200 kt/day during June. In this paper we focus on characterising the airborne pollutants arising from the 2018 LERZ eruption and the spatial distribution and severity of volcanic air pollution events across the Island of Hawai‘i. The LERZ eruption caused the most frequent and severe exceedances of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) PM2.5 air quality threshold (35 μg/m3 as a daily average) in Hawai‘i in the period 2010 - 2018. In Kona, for example, the maximum 24-hour-mean mass concentration of PM2.5 was recorded as 59 μg/m3 on the twenty-ninth of May 2018, which was one of eight recorded exceedances of the EPA air quality threshold during the 2018 LERZ eruption, where there had been no exceedances in the previous eight years as measured by the HDOH and NPS networks. SO2 air pollution during the LERZ eruption was most severe in communities in the south and west of the island, as measured by selected HDOH 28 and NPS stations in this study, with a maximum 24-hour-mean mass concentration of 728 μg/m3 recorded in Ocean View (100 km west of the LERZ emission source) in May 2018. Data from the low-cost sensor network correlated well with data from the HDOH PM2.5 instruments, confirming that these low-cost sensors provide a robust means to augment reference-grade instrument networks.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: AREP2019, IA76
Subjects: 05 - Petrology - Igneous, Metamorphic and Volcanic Studies
Divisions: 05 - Petrology - Igneous, Metamorphic and Volcanic Studies
07 - Gold Open Access
12 - PhD
Journal or Publication Title: Frontiers in Earth Science
Depositing User: Sarah Humbert
Date Deposited: 07 Feb 2020 13:45
Last Modified: 01 Aug 2020 00:03

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