Modelling the dispersion and risks from the Al Mishraq sulphur plant fire started by ISIS.
On October 20, 2016, Daesh (Islamic State) set fire to the sulphur production site Al-Mishraq as the battle of Mosul in northern Iraq became more intense. An extensive plume of toxic sulphur dioxide and hydrogen sulphide caused comprehensive casualties. The intensity of the SO2 release was reaching levels of minor volcanic eruptions and the plume was observed by several satellites. By investigation of the measurement data from instruments on the MetOp-A, MetOp-B, Aura and Soumi satellites we have estimated the time-dependent source term to 161 kilotonnes sulphur dioxide released into the atmosphere during seven days. A long-range dispersion model 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 of the simulated data, an estimate of the health risk area that was compared to reported urgent medical treatments.