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Eruption Pollution Warning in North Iceland

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Eruption Pollution Warning in North Iceland

Pollution from the eruption at Þingvellir

Eruption pollution seen in Southwest Iceland earlier this month. Photo: Páll Kjartansson.

The concentration of sulfur dioxide (SO2) gas from the eruption in Holuhraun exceeded 5,000 mµ/m3 in Sauðárkrókur, Northwest Iceland, this morning. The Civil Protection Department alerted inhabitants of the situation by sms text messages, advising them to stay inside, close the windows and turn up the heating to keep the gas out while the pollution persists.

This morning, the SO2 pollution in Akureyri, Northeast Iceland, reached 4,000 mµ/m3 and 2,700 mµ/m3 in Stykkishólmur, West Iceland, as stated in a press release from the Civil Protection Department. Inhabitants in these areas have also been alerted.

Yesterday evening the capital region was subject to eruption pollution with SO2 levels reaching 1,500 mµ/m3 in Kópavogur and Hafnarfjörður, at which point people who are sensitive may feel discomfort. At levels above 2,000 mµ/m3 warnings are issued.

The pollution level approached 2,000 mµ/m3 in Reykjavík suburb Grafarvogur last night, measured 1,500 mµ/m3 on Grensásvegur closer to the city center and close to 1,400 mµ/m3 in Norðingaholt on its outskirts. The pollution decreased later in the evening but people were asked to follow the situation, ruv.is reports.

Earlier in the week, inhabitants in South Iceland were advised to stay inside because of eruption pollution. SO2 levels peaked at 21,000 mµ/m3 in Höfn, Southeast Iceland, on Sunday, which is the highest recorded concentration of SO2 in an inhabited area since the eruption in Holuhraun started on August 29.

Today increasing easterly winds are forecast by the Icelandic Met Office, mostly carrying volcanic gas to West Iceland, from the southern West Fjords to northern Reykjanes peninsula, including Reykjavík and the greater capital region.

Tomorrow eastern gales are forecast with gas pollution expected in a similar area.

Go to vedur.is for forecasts, airquality.is for SO2 levels in different regions and click here to read instructions on how to respond to high levels of gas pollution (below the table).

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