Unusual Haze Over Capital Area Explained

Vala Hafstað

An unusual haze was over Reykjavík and vicinity yesterday, causing air quality to deteriorate, mbl.is reports. Still today, air quality is poor in Kópavogur, just south of Reykjavík, and only ‘medium’ in many parts of the capital area. 

Meteorologist Eiríkur Örn Jóhannesson, at the Icelandic Met Office, explains the reason for the haze: “This is dust from the outwash plains around Markarfljót river, [South Iceland]. We’ve had strong southeasterly winds [since Wednesday], and it’s been very dry, so the sand is dry, which is why this exceeds what we’re used to.”

“This appears as particle pollution at the Environment Agency stations,” he continues. “It is somewhat coarser than particle pollution from studded tires, but of course it has an effect, which is why it is marked as red.”

There is rain in the forecast for South and Southwest Iceland late tonight and tomorrow morning, and the pollution is expected to continue until then. Eiríkur expects the situation to improve tonight and tomorrow morning. “Wet sand, of course, isn’t easily blown away.”

He explains that dust from the vast expanses of sand in South Iceland is not uncommon in the capital area during the summer, but due to weeks of drought, it is now more than usual.

Weather

Cloudy

Today

9 °C

Overcast

Tomorrow

10 °C

Overcast

Thursday

8 °C