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Extreme Pollution Levels in Southeast Iceland

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Extreme Pollution Levels in Southeast Iceland

Two plumes from the Holuhraun eruption seen from a distance.

The plume from the Holuhraun eruption. Photo: Geir Ólafsson.

Sulfur dioxide (SO2) pollution from the Holuhraun eruption peaked at 5,400 mµ/m3 in Höfn in Southeast Iceland last night. People in the area received an sms from the 112 National Emergency Number at around 7 am this morning alerting them of the pollution, ruv.is reports.

People were advised to close windows, turn on the heaters and stay indoors. The message was sent in both Icelandic and English.

High pollution levels persisted this morning. According to the Department of Civil Protection, SO2 levels in the area measured 2,400 mµ/m3 at 9 am this morning.

SO2 levels over 2,000 mµ/m3 are considered unhealthy, according to the Environment Agency of Iceland.

Pollution from the eruption can be expected east and southeast of the eruption site today and across northern Iceland tomorrow, according to the Icelandic Met Office.

Graphs showing pollution levels in different locations are available on the website of the Environment Agency of Iceland.

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.

Information about the effects of volcanic gases on human health is available in English on the website of the Environment Agency of Iceland (see the right-hand tab ‘Info and FAQ’).

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