Mature volcanic plumes can go undetected when monitoring for SO2, but SO42- in the mature plume can cause health problems. This was seen following the Holuhraun eruption in Iceland 2014-15, where exposure to the mature plume is associated with an increase in register-measured health care utilization for respiratory disease by 23% (95% CI 19.7–27.4%) and for asthma medication dispensing by 19.3% (95% CI 9.6–29.1%).
Abstract: The 2010 eruption of Eyjafjallajökull produced volcanic ash that was mostly deposited to the south and east of the volcano, with the thickest deposits closest to the eruption vents. For months following the eruption there were numerous reports of resuspended volcanic ash made by weather observers on the ground. A saltation sensor (SENSIT) and an optical particle counter (OPC) located on the southern side of Eyjafjallajökull measured posteruptive particulate matter (PM) saltation and suspension events, some of which were also observable by satellite imagery. During the autumn/winter following the eruption, visible satellite images and the SENSIT show that PM measured by the OPC was only detected when winds had a northerly component, making the source on the slopes of Eyjafjallajökull. During the largest observed events, particles >10 μm were suspended but measured in extremely low concentrations (<1 particle per centimeter cubed). The saltation measurements, however, show high concentrations of particles >100 μm in size during these events. During the largest events, winds were at least 5 m s−1 with a relative humidity < 70%. Ground conditions in Iceland change quickly from unfavorable to favorable for the suspension of particles. It is hypothesized that this is due to the porosity of the surface material allowing water to filter through quickly as well as the fast drying time of surface material. The high moisture content of the atmosphere and the ground do not appear to be a deterrent for large PM events to occur in Iceland.
Mary K. Butwin, Sibylle von Löwis, Melissa A. Pfeffer, Pavla Dagsson-Waldhauserova, Johann Thorsson and Throstur Thorsteinsson. 2020. Influence of Weather Conditions on Particulate Matter Suspension following the 2010 Eyjafjallajökull Volcanic Eruption. Earth Interact., 24(6): 1–16. https://doi.org/10.1175/EI-D-20-0006.1
Black carbon, dust and plastic particles in snow and ice
This student opportunity is a collaborative research project between the University of Iceland (UI), the Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI), and Landsvirkjun (LV).
The overall aim of this research project is to study the distribution and concentration of black carbon (BC), organic carbon (OC), dust and plastic particles in snow and ice on Icelandic glaciers. This will allow for better modeling of potential impact of those pollutants on glaciers and knowledge about their sources.
This MS project is funded for 4-5 months as a summer employee at Landsvirkjun. This grant is most suitable for students that are finishing their required course work at the University of Iceland and need a project. New students can though apply and work on this project along with coursework.
New article looking at the impact of eruptions on “dust storm” frequency. Dust storm in parenthesis because one of the main questions was how long after an eruption ash storms were obvious. Turns out that with all the activity we have in Iceland the volcanic signal quickly fades into the general dust activity.
The Effects of Volcanic Eruptions on the Frequency of Particulate Matter Suspension Events in Iceland