Dr Sangeetha Venkataraman graduates with her PhD, with her husband Professor Sivakumar Venkataraman and their children at her side.

PhD Graduate Explores Atmospheric Sulphur Dioxide Levels Over South Africa

Dr Sangeetha Venkataraman graduated with a PhD at the University of KwaZulu-Natal for her research that explored the atmospheric sulphur dioxide levels over South Africa.

Venkataraman, wife of UKZN staffer and fellow Atmospheric Scientist, Professor Sivakumar Venkataraman, is originally from Chennai in India, where she completed her schooling.

She completed her Masters in Environmental Science in Chennai and was drawn to UKZN thanks to its high standards and her desire to continue research in the field of air pollution studies, an area in which UKZN has demonstrated excellence.

She said pursuing her studies at UKZN laid a foundation for her career, adding that the continued support and guidance she received at UKZN enabled her to achieve this accolade.

Venkataraman said that working towards a PhD was important, as it taught her the value of managing time well to achieve her goals.

Her research is important when understanding how South Africa is impacted by SO2levels, even in unpredictable conditions like those following volcanic eruptions on neighbouring continents. Venkataraman also paid attention to SO2 levels, even at altitudes as high as 15km. This pollutant can pose health risks if levels are not monitored.

Last year, she published a paper titled Seasonal SO2 Variation and Assessment of Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) Measurements at Sharpeville (27.86 °E; 26.68 °S) a South African Ground-Based Station’, in the International Journal of Remote Sensing. She is due to have another paper published. Venkataraman, a fan of both classical and modern music and an avid reader, is exploring career options in her field, which might include starting her own business.

Words: Christine Cuénod