Developing, managing, and sharing knowledge on natural resources, conflict, and peacebuilding
Library / The 2016 - Al-Mishraq Sulphur Plant Fire: Source a...
Author(s): Oscar Björnham, Håkan Grahn, Pontus von Schoenberg, Annica Waleij, Birgitta Liljedahl, and Niklas Brännström
Topics: Assessment, Extractive Resources, Weapons, Waste, and Pollution
On October 20th 2016, Daesh (Islamic State) set fire to the sulphur production site Al-Mishraq as the battle of Mosul became more intense. A huge plume of toxic sulphur dioxide and hydrogen sulphide caused comprising casualties. The intensity of the SO2 release was reaching levels of minor volcanic eruptions which was observed by several satellites. By investigation of the measurement data from the MetOp-A, MetOp-B, Aura, and Meteosat-10 satellites we have estimated the time-dependent source term for sulphur dioxide with 92 kt SO2 released into the atmosphere during six days. The long-range dispersion model PELLO was utilized to simulate the atmospheric transport over the Middle East. The ground-level concentrations predicted by the simulation were compared with observation from the Turkey National Air Quality Monitoring Network. Finally, the simulation data provided, using a probit analysis, an estimate of the risk area at ground level which was compared to reported urgent medical treatments.