Wind-blown volcanic ash off Iceland
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Wind-blown volcanic ash off Iceland

September 14, 2011
On September 9, 2011, strong winds blew across Iceland, lifting volcanic dust laid down by Eyjafjallajökull in 2010 and Grímsvötn and transporting hundreds of kilometers across the North Atlantic Ocean. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard the Terra satellite captured this true-color image at 13:15 UTC (1:15 p.m. local time) on that same day.

The winds blew steadily from the north northeast during the previous several days, with steady winds reported at 40 mph on September 8, with higher gusts. Additionally, strong, dry winds often blow across the interior in the fall, eroding soils that carry little vegetation. It is likely that significant amounts of soil and dust, as well as volcanic ash, compose this dense tan plume.

According to Iceland Review Online, the air pollution level in Reykajavik exceeded acceptable health limits on September 12, measuring 260 micrograms per cubic meter at noon. At 100 micrograms, people with allergies, cardiac or lung disease are advised to remain indoors and at 150 micrograms people with no respiratory problems can feel discomfort.

Credit: Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Land Rapid Response Team, NASA GSFC

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