More than twice the amount spewing from all of Europe’s smokestacks.
Sulphur dioxide has been spurting out of the Iceland volcano for eight weeks now, says Scientific American. More than twice the amount!
At 35,000 tons per day, that’s almost 2 million tons!
Entitled “Gas-Spewing Icelandic Volcano Stuns Scientists,” the article points out that “the record-setting amount of pollution” has even surprised volcanologists.
With the right winds, the sulphur can reach as far as the European continent. Austria has already recorded more sulphur in its air than any time since the industrial clean-up of the 1980s.
Sulphur spikes as high as 21,000 micrograms per cubic metre were measured last weekend in the town of Höfn; the World Health Organization recommends no more than 500 micrograms per cubic metre for a 10-minute exposure.
If the current eruption is tapping magma deep in the crust, as the lava’s volume and chemistry suggest, it may continue for months or even years, says Freysteinn Sigmundsson, a volcanologist at the University of Iceland. “We don’t see an end in sight.”
When Mount Oyama volcano on Miyake Island in Japan began erupting with roughly the same level of sulphur emissions in the early 2000s, the island was completely evacuated.
Thanks to D Scott and Chris Beal for theses links
“Increasing vulcanism -> SO2 cools the atmosphere,” says Scott. “Expect synchronous reinforcing effects with a cooling sun, dropping magnetic field strength allowing more cosmic rays -> increasing cloud cover and the polar vortex to further cool the Northern Hemisphere.”