Empirical relation between sulphur dioxide emissions and acid deposition derived from monthly data

Charles B. Epstein, Michael Oppenheimer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


The relation between sources of sulphur dioxide (SO2) and precipitation sulphate (SO4) concentrations at distant receptors is the subject of intensive empirical and theoretical investigation1,2. This relation provides a probe of atmospheric chemistry, physics and meteorology, and insight into the effectiveness of potential acid-deposition reduction strategies. Large variations in SO2 emissions from copper smelters in the southwestern United States, the major regional sulphur source, between 1980 and 1984 provide a unique opportunity to study the source-receptor relation, as during this interval the National Atmospheric Deposition Program (NADP) monitored wet-precipitation sulphate concentrations on a weekly basis at Rocky Mountain locations. Here we extend our earlier analysis of annual-average data2 by examining monthly sulphate concentration and emission data for 1980-84. We show that monthly data are consistent with a linear relation between emissions and concentration, possessing the expected properties of a source-receptor relation. We then predict concentration changes resulting from the addition of a new smelter at Nacozari, Mexico, expected to be the second-largest source of SO2 in North America.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)245-247
Number of pages3
Issue number6085
StatePublished - 1986
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


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