Particulate Matter explosion: New Year’s Eve 2017/18

Calm and quit weather for the New Year’s Eve, which also means that the particulate matter (PM) pollution was extreme. Almost completely calm around midnight in Reykjavik as can be seen from the measurements from the IMO below.


Windspeed and gusts in Reykjavík (figure from IMO).

It is clear how calm it was around the New Year’s, and actually there isn’t much wind in this graph; y-axis maximum is 5 m/s.

It was therefore expected that PM concentration would be quite high.

First measurements are from a station in Reykjavik, Grensás. There the maximum values were around 2500 µg/m3; which is similar to the maximum values for New Year’s when the conditions are similar.


Measurements at Grensás on New Year’s Day 2018.

Another station in Kópavogi, measured even higher values. There the maximum values were 4500 µg/m3, which is very high. Also it is interesting to see that the fine PM, PM2.5, is very high. PM2.5 goes over 3400 µg/m3. It is thus 75% of the PM, which is bad for the health (plus the composition of this type of pollution).


Measurements at Dalsmára in Kópavogi on 1 January 2018.


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Dust storm 24 and 23 April 2017

Cold, dry and sunny weather in the south in Spring, with strong winds these days. Can only mean one thing, dust storm activity on the south coast of Iceland.


Modis image from 24 April 2017 at 12:50 (image courtesy of NASA MODIS/Rapidfire).

Wind speed at Skarðsfjöruviti over 9 m/s around noon, and over 15 m/s at Stórhöfði, Vestmannaeyjar.


Skarðsfjöruviti (image from IMO,


Stórhöfði (image from IMO,

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Particulate matter during New Year’s Eve 2016/17

The weather was very good during New Years, calm winds, clear skies and cold.

Therefore, PM10 concentration was expected to reach high values, and it did.

At Grensás, close to downtown Reykjavik, the concentration reached maximum at 01:30, reaching almost 2500 µg/m³. The concentration in the Family-and petting zoo, nearby but with more vegetation and further from apartments, the concentration followed the same pattern, but with lower values. At 01:30 the maximum there reached 1500 µg/m³.


The 24-hour average for 1 January 2017 at GRE was about 160 µg/m³, three times the health limit.

More about the PM during New Year’s Eve in Icelandic: “Svifryks­meng­un langt yfir heilsu­vernd­ar­mörk­um

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Dust storms north of Vatnajökull 27&28 October 2016

Dust storms occurred, and were visible, on 27 and 28 October 2016.


MODIS image from 28 October 2016 at 13:00.

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Dust storm north of Dyngjujökull 20 October 2016

Wind gusts over 20 m/s on 20 October 2016 north of Dyngjujökull gave rise to re-suspension of dust from the glacier river, Jökulsá á Fjöllum.


Landsat8 image from 12:34 on 20 October 2016 (image from NASA/USGS).


Wind speed measured at Kárahnjúkar ( At Upptyppingar on Thursday 20 October at 12:00 the wind speed was Suð-vestan 16 m/s with gusts of 21 m/s, 7,3 °C and RH 51 %.

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Dust storm 7 August 2016

Good weather for dust storms these days here in Iceland, dry and sunny and windy every once in a while.


The MODIS image above (Image courtesy of NASA MODIS/Rapidfire), taken 14:50 on 7 August 2016, show that pretty well.

Quite windy in the SE-Iceland, as one can see from the wind velocity at Kirkjubæjarklaustur.


There was an activity south of Langjökull, slightly visible white/grey plume in the figure, caught by an aerial photographer leikfok við Langjökul (RÙV)

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Dust storm 3 May 2016

Sunny and windy in the south today, and dust blowing in the area near Eldhraun and also Meðallandssandur.

Fairly strong winds, 11 m/s average wind speed and gusts of 19 m/s at Kirkjubæjarklaustur (Figure 1).

Figure 1. Weather observations at 13:00 on 3 May 2016.

Maybe need to look carefully, but possible to see stuff from the coast and further inland in the area between Kúðafljót and Skaftá, where Meðallandssandur and Eldhraun are (Figure 2).

Figure 2. MODIS image from 3 May 2016 at 13:15 (image from MODIS/Rapidfire).

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