Volcano Watch: Assessing Kilauea’s SO2 emissions

Vog obscures a Princess Cruise Lines ship that visited Kailua-Kona in May 2018. (Chelsea Jensen/West Hawaii Today)

Visitors at Kahaluu Beach swim in heavy vog in May 2018. (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)

A thick, dense plume of SO2 and other volcanic gases billows from the lava fountains at fissure 8 on June 19, 2018. SO2 emission rates during the 2018 eruption of Kilauea were so high that they required a new data analysis technique. (USGS photo/P. Nadeau)

If you were around Hawaii Island — or even other Hawaiian Islands, or Guam — between May and August 2018, you likely know that Kilauea’s lower East Rift Zone (LERZ) eruption released a lot of sulfur dioxide (SO2). But how much is a lot?