From Iceland — High Levels Of Sulphur Dioxide In Capital Area

High Levels Of Sulphur Dioxide In Capital Area

Published November 9, 2014

Andie Sophia Fontaine
Photo by
Icelandic Met Office

SO2 from the Holuhraun eruption has enveloped southwest Iceland again, at levels high enough at times to warrant staying indoors.

RÚV reports that sulphur dioxide in concentrations of 600 to 2,000 µg/m3 is considered possibly harmful to those sensitive to the gas, which can cause irritation of the eyes and respiratory system. At about 7:00 this morning, SO2 levels in the greater Reykjavík area were recorded at about 900 µg/m3.

According to the long-term forecast, SO2 should continue to waft around the capital at levels varying from safe to cautionary until at least Tuesday morning.

While SO2 is only debilitating or potentially fatal to humans at much higher levels, it can still cause problems at these concentrations, especially for those with respiratory conditions. If you wish to protect yourself from SO2 poisoning, experts advise staying indoors with the windows closed and the heat turned up (as the expanding air pressure from the warm air supposedly keeps outside air from entering).

Keeping track of SO2 levels in your area, wherever in Iceland you may live, can be done through the “long-term forecast” link above. Barring that, leaving a plate of red cabbage outside may do the trick as well.

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