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Eruption Pollution to Reach Capital Area Again

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Eruption Pollution to Reach Capital Area Again

A map showing sulfur dioxide pollution from the eruption

The forecast for 4 pm today. Photo: Icelandic Met Office.

Pollution from the eruption is expected southwest of the volcano today and tomorrow, including in the greater Reykjavík area.

The Icelandic Met Office recently began publishing maps showing a calculation of atmospheric concentration of sulfur dioxide (SO2) at ground level. An explanation on the agency’s website reads:

“The plume is re-initialized at the beginning of each calculation (see date top right) and hence some SO2 from previous days is likely to be in the atmosphere.

The strength of SO2 emissions at the volcano is estimated using ground-based remote sensing and the dispersion of SO2 is based on a wind forecast. Both factors lead to an uncertainty in the modeled plume.

Because of this uncertainty the information here is presented on a descriptive relative scale (low to high). This decision may be revised as more data becomes available.”

Yellow indicates low levels of pollution, red considerable and pink high.

A map on the website of the Reykjavík Public Health Authority shows the location of pollution sensors in the capital area and the quality of air at each given time.

Green means that the air quality is good, yellow that people suffering from asthma could experience discomfort and red that people who are sensitive should stay inside and others avoid physical activity outside.

People who feel discomfort are advised to stay indoors, close their windows, turn up the heat and turn off air conditioning. Use periods of good air quality to ventilate the house. People experiencing adverse effects should be in immediate contact with their healthcare centre. Measurements of air quality can be found on the webpage www.airquality.is.

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