The Sentinel-5P Sulfur Dioxide (SO2) vertical column product using COvariance-Based Retrieval Algorithm (COBRA) was developed for the improved monitoring of the daily global spatial and temporal distribution of this trace gas in the Earth's atmosphere.

Sulphur dioxide affects air quality and climate on a local and global scale. SO2 emissions are from both natural and anthropogenic sources. The majority of anthropogenic emissions is from coal burning, oil and gas industry, and smelting activities. Natural sources of SO2 are largely from volcanoes. SO2 injection in the upper troposphere/lower stratosphere can impact global climate and can also pose a threat to aviation, together with volcanic ash.

Note: Before applying the data selection, it is recommended to recalculate the qa_value variable following the calculation rule given in the Product Readme File.

Information about SO2 COBRA

The SO2CBR processor is developed and maintained by BIRA.

Available resources:

Product Format Specification (PFS)
Product Readme File (PRF)
Validation Report (VR)
Reference Paper:

Processor version history

  • v02.00.00 (2024-02-05)
    • Better treatment of volcanic SO2 plumes.
    • Mitigation of the impact of large SO2 columns on the covariance matrix calculation.
    • Improved covariance matrix calculation and retrieval error estimates.
  • v01.00.01 (2022-10-20)
    • Initial public release

Known issues

The dataset does not provide a full timeline and products for several orbits are known to be missing. Information about known acquisition gaps in the data can be found on the Mission Status webpage of Sentinel-5P.

Interactive product browsing and download

Available product files can be selected and downloaded using the SpatioTemporal Asset Catalog (STAC) browser interface.

This browser interface does not currently support the more advanced search queries made possible by the STAC API. For that you will need to programmatically query the S5P-PAL STAC endpoint.


Questions regarding this service can be send to the ESA EO Support Helpdesk.

This service is provided as part of the Sentinel-5P Product Algorithm Laboratory (S5P-PAL) and contains modified Copernicus Sentinel data processed by S[&]T.