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an example of daily UV-index



UV rays

Ultra-violet radiation is monitored in Reykjavík, issuing a daily UV-index, taking cloud coverage into account and giving guidelines for skin protection. The sensor is placed at the roof of IMO’s headquarters at Bústaðavegur.

For scientific purpose direct sunlight, dispersed sunlight and hours of sunlight are measured by sensors on the roof and the balance of solar and far infra-red radiation is monitored on ground level.


A joint research program between IMO and INTA of Spain, National Institute for Aerospace Technology, started on 1991 to monitor and study the ozone depletion problem at the subarctic belt. Since 1991 about 200 successful sondes have been launched from Keflavík at 64º N, 22º W.

Classic ozone measurements are done at IMO’s headquarters, i.e. Dobson which yield total ozone from the measuring point and up through the atmosphere. The results are processed and mapped at Environment Canada.

Bolungarvík og fjallið Ernir
Figure 1. Bolungarvík in the West Fjords with the mountain Ernir above. © Sigvaldi Árnason.

Gamma rays

In co-operation with the Icelandic Radiation Protection Institute gamma radiation is monitored at four stations: Reykjavík, Bolungarvík, Raufarhöfn and Höfn, deliberately chosen to represent the south, west, north and east of Iceland. These are automatic stations which measure natural background radiation but function as a warning system as well. They would show significant increase in gamma radiation if an accident were to happen abroad and a cloud of radioactive substances were to pass over Iceland.

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