The eruptive column on the island of La Palma, where the Cumbre Vieja volcano began to emanate lava last Sunday, it reaches 3,000 meters of altitude and the winds will direct these gases towards the south, in the direction of the islands of El Hierro and La Gomera, according to the State Meteorological Agency (AEMET).
The AEMET spokesperson, Rubén del Campo, has indicated that the gases are altered by the heat of the volcanic eruption and this causes a permanent stream of winds that is directed from the surroundings towards the area of the eruption, above this superficial zone and up to 2,000 meters of altitude.
At the moment, the winds continue to blow from the northeast while at an altitude of 3,000 to 5,000 meters, the predominant wind direction will be southwest, blowing at a speed of about 40 or 50 kilometers per hour and turning northwest at 5,000 meters above sea level. altitude late on Friday.
Thus, the Aemet predicts that the volcano’s emissions during the day on Thursday and Friday will go south and will reach areas of El Hierro, La Gomera and Tenerife on the surface.
The highest concentrations of gases such as sulfur dioxide are in the vicinity of La Palma and at higher altitudes where the population is usually found. And at about 1,500 meters of altitude, the emissions can be dispersed throughout the rest of the islands of the archipelago, although “obviously” in concentrations much lower than those around the focus.
So far, Del Campo insists that at the surface level, where the population lives and according to information from the Canary Islands Air Quality Control Network, “the air quality has not been altered by the volcanic eruption.” . Nor in the Peninsula, where the pollutant dispersion model used by the State Meteorological Agency and called ‘Mocage’ “does not observe a significant arrival.”
Therefore, the spokesperson ensures that “The occurrence of acid rain in the surroundings of the peninsula and the Balearic Islands is ruled out” As for the prediction in the archipelago, it only foresees rainfall in the north and east of the more mountainous islands. In any case, it will be weak rains and coming from low clouds.
Del Campo admits that it is “complex” to integrate the existing sulfur dioxide concentrations in the different atmospheric levels into the meteorological prediction models, but affirms that with the information available, at this time he can say that “it is very unlikely that it will be possible. produce an episode of acid rain in the Canary archipelago.
In any case, he adds that in the event of an acid rain episode, it would be “a specific episode” and recalls that the harmful aspects of this phenomenon “tend to appear in the long term and not in a specific episode.”