The influence of periodic water flow on SO2 oxidation in a trickle bed of activated carbon catalyst was investigated, whereby gaseous reactants were introduced into the trickle-bed reactor continuously, but water was turned on and off. Mean liquid superficial velocities of 0.86 and 1.65 mm/s were used. At the latter, an increase in the oxidation rate of about 30 to 45% was found within a range of cycle periods from 2 to 80 min. A temperature change of up to 7°C was observed in the bed during periodic operation. An explanation of the improved average oxidation rate under periodic operation is developed in terms of the steady-state rates with and without water flow for symmetrical and asymmetrical cycles.