Volcanic Emissions Network : Background

The Scottish Government have provided funding to establish a permanent air monitoring network across the north of Scotland. This has been set up to detect ground level sulphur dioxide gas (SO2) and fine particles of dust, also known as particulate matter (PM), which are both associated with volcanic plumes arriving in Scotland.

These pollutants can be released in large quantities during volcanic eruptions and, once in the atmosphere, can travel large distances and therefore have the potential to impact on the air quality of countries hundreds of miles away from the active volcano.

The VEN extends the geographical coverage of the existing air quality monitoring network in Scotland and forms part of an early warning system to better detect and report on potential effects on air quality to the Scottish Government and the Scottish public.

The Air Quality in Scotland website contains a lot of useful information on air quality and provides access to the wider Scottish air quality network.

SEPA are working with the UK Met Office to develop a system to detect and swiftly report to the Scottish Government any potential volcanic emission intrusions over Scotland. This will allow the Scottish Government to take the most appropriate action, such as informing health authorities and local authorities of any potential air quality issues.

SEPA links