From Iceland — Cloud Of Air Pollution Over Reykjavík

Cloud Of Air Pollution Over Reykjavík

Published February 23, 2016

Andie Sophia Fontaine
Photo by
Art Bicnick

A distinct brown layer of air pollution was spotted hovering over the capital area today, and can be attributed to car exhaust.

If you were in the capital area today, you may have noticed a yellow-brown haze in the sky. Using Mount Esja as a point of reference, the streak appeared to extend horizontally across the midway point of the slope. In reality, Vísir reports, this haze is air pollution and it actually covers the entire capital area.

“This [haze] is caused first and foremost by exhaust from cars,” air pollution expert Þorsteinn Jóhannsson told reporters. He added that from Mosfellsbær looking south, it appears to hang over Reykjavík; from Reykjavík looking north, it appears to hang over Mosfellsbær. This is an optical illusion, he explained, saying that the air pollution pervades over the greater capital area.

While the pollution is visible to the naked eye, the air quality in Reykjavík is currently ranked as “Good”. The pollution is not dangerous if it only lasts a day, Þorsteinn said, although those with respiratory conditions might feel some discomfort.

Air pollution in the capital area is normally highest in the beginning of spring. This is not necessarily due to an increase in car traffic, but rather because many drivers are still driving spiked tires on roads that are no longer icy. This negligence kicks up a lot of dust, and can have a significant effect on Reykjavík’s air quality.

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