Hazy Newfoundland skies caused by Icelandic volcano

·2 min read
This photo, showing a blanket of haze over the St. John's, was taken from Signal Hill on Monday evening.  (Submitted by Brittany Lee - image credit)
This photo, showing a blanket of haze over the St. John's, was taken from Signal Hill on Monday evening. (Submitted by Brittany Lee - image credit)

Volcanic eruptions in Iceland have awed thousands of locals over the past several weeks, and now remnants of those eruptions have made their way to Newfoundland.

If you live on the island, you've probably noticed the unusually hazy skies that have been hanging over most of it for the past few weeks.

Environment Canada meteorologist Wanda Batten said the haze likely has a lot to do with the Fagradalsfjall volcano in Iceland, which started erupting in March.

"Something so far away [having] such an impact on us is really, really cool to see," she said.

Meteorologists at the Gander weather office determined the cause of the island's haze using back trajectories — tracing backward to determine where the hazy air parcels originated.

"What they think is happening is all that volcanic ash and smoke has made its way down towards Newfoundland in the northerly flow we've had the past few days," she said.

"It's very, very high up in the atmosphere so that's why you're not going to smell it or be aware of it down on the surface level. It's so high that it will affect the colour of the sky.… You'll see the haze really far out."

People watch as lava oozes from a new fissure near Fagradalsfjall on the Reykjanes Peninsula in Iceland.
People watch as lava oozes from a new fissure near Fagradalsfjall on the Reykjanes Peninsula in Iceland. (Ao Thor/Reuters)

Batten said the last eruption happened in the first week of May, so it took several days for the ash to make its way to Newfoundland, and meteorologists don't expect it to linger much longer.

"Those northerly winds are going to get cut off and shift around to a southerly wind, so I don't anticipate we're going to see much more of it," Batten said. "It'll move off to the sea — then we won't be able to see it anymore."

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