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Columbia University

Publication Date

Spring 2017

Program Name

Iceland and Greenland: Climate Change and The Arctic


As geothermal energy becomes more widely implemented globally, it is critical to have an accurate assessment of the costs and benefits this technology may pose in order to plan, prevent, and mitigate pollution. Meteorological data sets from the Icelandic Met Office were analyzed in conjunction with hydrogen sulfide (H2S) levels in the Reykjavík area as a case study in the meteorological conditions leading to elevated H2S levels (>50 μg m-3) on March 1-3, 2017. Primary variables of interest were wind speed and direction, temperature, atmospheric stability, and humidity. Climate change is predicted to weaken the Gulf Stream, influencing all of the aforementioned meteorological factors and potentially affecting the frequency of these high concentration events in Iceland. It was found that peaks are most likely to occur in periods with cold (mean: -0.1 °C, median: - 1.2 °C), low velocity (mean: 2.7m/s), easterly winds (mean: 95°), while humidity did not play a significant role. The results of this initial analysis informed the subsequent investigation of the meteorological time series of H2S levels from 2008-April 2017, which supported the previous findings regarding meteorological conditions. The primary goal was to identify similar peak events and search for changes in the frequency of H2S peaks over the past decade. It appears that the introduction of H2S sequestering technology has had a positive effect on reducing the frequency of high H2S events in the Reykjavík area, even when controlling for meteorological effects.


Eastern European Studies | Environmental Engineering | Environmental Studies


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