Most Recent Volcanic Explosion in Iceland will Affect Russia

Most Recent Volcanic Explosion in Iceland will Affect Russia

This is the fourth volcanic eruption that has occurred on Iceland’s Reykjanes peninsula since December. And it is anticipated that the effects would be more extensive this time.

The most recent eruption occurred on Saturday between Mt. Hagafell and Mt. Stóra Skógfell in southwest Iceland. It rapidly created a crack that was almost two miles long and was erupting lava. As of Wednesday, the Icelandic Meteorological Office reported that eruptive activity “appears to be relatively stable.” The small local settlement of Grindavik was evacuated once more.

However, gas pollution is still an issue even though the eruption is steady.
A volcanic eruption releases a variety of gases, one of which is sulfur dioxide, which according to the meteorological office “has a strong smell and can irritate the nose, mouth, throat, and eyes.” In addition to being particularly irritating to people who have asthma, “it can be lethal at high enough concentrations for a long enough time.”

The most recent eruption has released sulfur dioxide emissions so large that they will spread over continental Europe and even as far as Russia, according to a report released on Thursday by Copernicus, the European Union’s climate change monitoring program.

“The previous eruptions didn’t produce much in terms of SO2 (sulfur dioxide) emissions which could be observed and assimilated in our system,” CAMS senior scientist Mark Parrington said. “The amount of SO2 emitted this time has been very clear in the observations and we are closely monitoring the plume as it is transported over northern Europe.”

According to Copernicus, the sulfur dioxide plume is expected to move during the course of the following five days. It has already made landfall in Ireland and the United Kingdom as of Thursday, and analysts anticipate that it will hit Scandinavia before moving into northwest Russia.

The amount of ozone in the stratosphere and air quality can both be affected by sulfur dioxide, according to CAMS Director Laurence Rouil, although the gases released from Iceland’s most recent eruption “have not yet been so severe.” Scientists do not anticipate that the emissions will affect the climate or the quality of the surface air, Parrington continued.

Sanchita Patil

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