Thin Ozone Layer Over Iceland - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Thin Ozone Layer Over Iceland

Published February 16, 2016

The ozone layer over Iceland will remain thin at least until the start of spring, and the thinning itself is due to climate change.

Last weekend, clear skies and low ozone levels prompted the Icelandic Met Office to issue a warning to Icelanders to make use of sunscreen and sunglasses if they ventured outside. RÚV now reports that these upper atmosphere conditions could last well into the spring equinox, which this year will be March 19.

Meteorologist Árni Sigurðsson told reporters that the patch of ozone over the North Atlantic – including Iceland – is “unusually large and unusually low” for this time of year. The major contributing factor to the atmospheric conditions, he says, is us.

“We’ve been polluting and emitting these particular chlorofluorocarbons into the air,” Árni told reporters. “They can make quite a difference. … People are a bit worried because this could be a consequence of the greenhouse effect and changes in the atmosphere.”

It is hoped that from the equinox onwards, the upper atmosphere will change such that this thin patch of ozone over Iceland will shift. For now, we remain slightly more vulnerable to the increased levels of solar radiation that are able to shine down upon us thanks to the patch.

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