If Holuhraun continues erupting it is likely the whole country will be affected by poisonous SO2 levels, reports RÚV.
“[If the eruption continues] we can expect strong levels of SO2, especially to the northwest,” said Þorsteinn Jóhannsson, a specialist working with air pollution at the Environment Agency of Iceland. “And presumably, the direction of the wind will change at some point and then we can expect it all over the country.”
RÚV reports that SO2 pollution measured 1,250 micrograms per cubic meter in Reykjahlíð near Lake Mývatn last night. The maximum safety limit for SO2 is 600 micrograms per cubic meter. Several Mývatn residents have reported respiratory discomfort, a side effect of SO2 exposure.
Although there is a text message alert system created to inform towns and villages if SO2 levels are too high, the Grapevine reported yesterday that it does not work as well as intended.
Instead those wishing to follow what their local air quality is due to the eruption can more reliably visit the Icelandic Met Office English language page.
Measurements of air quality can be found on the webpage www.loftgaedi.is. The Meteorological Office issues forecast on its webpage and warnings if conditions change to the worse.