This image, acquired on 15 April 2010 by Envisat’s Medium Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (MERIS), shows the vast cloud of volcanic ash sweeping across the UK from the eruption in Iceland, more than 1000 km away. The ash, which can be seen as the large grey streak in the image, is drifting from west to east at a height of about 11 km above the surface Earth.
An enlarged view and story follows.
It seems the Volcano has accomplished what the nutballs of “Plane Stupid” could not – shut down UK airports, including Heathrow.
Flights have been disrupted across northern Europe by volcanic ash drifting south and east from Iceland.
Airspace was closed or flights cancelled in countries including the UK, the Republic of Ireland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland and France.
The ash, which can damage aeroplane engines, was produced by a volcanic eruption under a glacier in Iceland.
Flooding was reported as the glacier melted, and up to 800 people were evacuated from the area on Wednesday.
By Thursday afternoon, the UK had shut its airspace and other countries, from Belgium to Scandinavia, were in the process of following suit.
‘Wait and see’
UK airspace was shut down to all but emergency flights from midday (1100 GMT) on Thursday to 0700 BST (0600 GMT) on Friday, at the earliest. It was also closed in Ireland.
“Volcanic ash represents a significant safety threat to aircraft,” said the UK’s Air Traffic Control Service (Nats).
Oslo airport, which is Norway’s largest, was closed on Thursday morning, meaning Norwegian airspace was completely closed.
Belgium, Sweden and Denmark announced they would be shutting their entire airspace, northern Finland was closed and the Netherlands was being closed progressively.
French aviation officials said on Thursday afternoon that the main airports in Paris and other airports in the north of the country were to be closed.