New pix of Iceland volcanic plume

From ESA (zoomed image below the read more line)

New satellite image of ash spewing from Iceland’s volcano

Plume of ash from the Eyjafjallajoekull Volcano

19 April 2010

In this image taken [at] (14:45 CET) by ESA’s Envisat satellite, a heavy plume of ash from the Eyjafjallajoekull Volcano is seen travelling in a roughly southeasterly direction.

The volcano has been emitting steam and ash since its recent eruptions began on 20 March, and as observable, the emissions continue. The plume, visible in brownish-grey, is approximately 400 km long. Envisat’s Medium Resolution Imaging Spectrometer instrument (MERIS) acquired this image on 19 April, while working in Full Resolution Mode to provide a spatial resolution of 300 m.

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Here is a zoomed image

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107 thoughts on “New pix of Iceland volcanic plume

  1. Still huge amounts of steam. High silica. Given the water content, I would say that this is a minor eruption so far. All show, no lava.

  2. Can someone compare or point to a comparison of this eruption to, say, the top ten that we know about?

  3. Is that the snow cover on Iceland & Greenland I see in the image?
    The ash looks rather sickly greenish-brown. I have read bits here & there that it is loaded with flourine.
    Superb resolution. You don’t see that on the MSM.

  4. The Met Office really does seem to be coming in for some criticism over its models and the flight restrictions that have been in place. I got to thinking last night about the The Harmattan West African trade wind. It blows south from Sahara into the Gulf of Guinea.
    I used to regularly fly from the UK down to Nigeria and can say that the wind really picks up an incredible amount of sand from the Sahara and dumps it as it blows down the west of Africa. Some days it reduces ground visibility to a matter of yards and I once had a pair of sunglasses shot blasted on a 2 hour speedboat ride to an oil installation in the delta area.
    It just makes me wonder how aircraft can fly though the Harmatan dust but have trouble with the volcanic stuff. Obviously height may come into it but the aircraft we were in made daily flights into 2 months of wind driven Sahara without incident apart from a few diversions due to visibility and the lack of decent radar approach equipment.

  5. That is one cool photo!
    Look at how the cumulus clouds huge the northern boundary and right down the middle of the plume. And those pristine harmonic waves, nearly perfect!

  6. The “shadow” cloud above it looks interesting. Wonder if it is related to the ash or if both are just being manipulated by the cyclone in the same way.
    BTW: Thanks for link to Aqua/MODIS image Ryan.

  7. You can see that as you move away from the volcano, the ratio of ash to water increases. The sections of the plume which are semi-transparent are probably almost 100% ash.

  8. Great photos. On the bright side, the Icelanders seem to be lucking out on the wind direction so far.

  9. As mentioned earlier the UK Met Office is coming in for stick for its dust extent forecasting form the EU, telling comment was, we should be concentrating on actual readings not on computer model predictions which have been shown to be faulty. Translate that to AGW and its sad these same EU officals don’t think the same way, maybe this panic will open their eyes.

  10. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/apr/19/ash-lava-volcano-eruption-phase

    The ash plume is caused by hot magma breaking through the Earth’s crust and meeting ice, which turns into vapour and shoots upwards.
    The sight of lava suggests much of the ice responsible for the plume has melted, meaning there is less explosive force pushing ash into the sky.
    Kristin Vogfjord, a geologist at the Icelandic weather office, told the Guardian: “That’s a good sign. It means there is probably less ice in contact with the magma, so it’s not able to generate these explosions that spew ash all over Europe.”

  11. I will be watching the arctic ice with interest. So much extra cloud cover should keep the waters cooler than otherwise they would be. Maybe 2010 will be a record summer ice area year if this keeps up for a month.

  12. Just when you thought that scientists were too dumb to live:
    UK water use ‘worsening global crisis’
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8628832.stm
    Earlier I posted a piece that UK scientists suggested that only the UK suffers from solar quiescence, ie, winter cooling, because of lack of solar activity . How special. Now the Brits have the novel thought that water in Africa disappears because of British agriculture. Can’t these people just kill themselves and spare us the torture? After all, Muslims say they want the place for themselves.

  13. I think that the worst thing about the Icelandic volcanoes is that they can spew out hydrofluoric acid. That is seriously nasty sh*t.

  14. Pete H (22:15:10)
    It’s the nature of the ash Pete, sand granules tend to be smooth edged or rounded and flow easily. Volcanic ash is fragmented and jagged and tends to stick to surfaces more easily. I believe that the melting point is substantially lower than sand as well so in a hot engine the ash tends to build up on surfaces.

  15. We have a government that claims it can control the climate so you’d think that they’d be able to organise the strategic placing of a bloody big cork…

  16. Re Pete H 10:12pm and others
    the reason that jet engines have a problem with volcanic ash and not with sand storms relates to the composition. Most jet engines today are “high-bypass” fans. The vast majority of air does not go through the “engine” but goes through the big compressor blades. Only a small % actually goes via the combustion chamber and as a consequence (due better metals and ceramics mainly) the combustion chamber is rather warm.
    Consequently, the volcanic ash is effectively melted and turns into a glass slag inside the chamber – generally considered a bad idea as it makes the “flame” go out.
    Sand, on the other hand, is fine rock and requires a far higher temparture to melt, much higher than the cans in a turbine.
    The amount of fine sand, water, snow and other particulates that a modern jet engine can ingest and retainrated power is phenomenal. The amount of volcanic ash they can survive is however miniscule.
    Part of the problem is the “risk-tolerance” we accept from aviation. It is so safe, that when an aircraft goes down, it is generally front page news.
    Even if each flight through trace volcanic ash only degraded the performance of the engine by on average 1% (say), would you get on the flight?
    Considering that an engine costs about $US10 million to overhaul, that would add about $1,000 per short haul ticket (assuming you went the 100 flights) AND on average about 200 flight PER DAY, in Europe would flame out.
    I’m afraid until someone invents both a way to real-time find out where the ash is AND an effective way to re-certify the engine after each flight; we will all be at the mercy of ‘mother nature’

  17. This eruption is doing more to undermine “manmade global warming” than even climategate. What it exposes is the complete over-reaction of the Met Office based on highly speculative computer modelling and it is also quite obvious how other “scientists” are yet again jumping on the scare-bandwagon.
    These scarientists are to science what quacks are to medicine. They use real scientific research and real scientific language to enrich themselves.

  18. I’m awaiting for the following headline in a few weeks from some trough-fed researcher….
    “The Icelandic volcano was a lot less damaging than scientists feared because Global Warming had reduced the size & thickness of the glacier over the volcano. Less ice meant less ash”
    sarc on or off in this case?

  19. This is not good news for AGW. If the ashes were swept in Greenland’s direction, it would be better for them, as ashes dropping on the ice would significantly rise albedo, and probably accelerate the melting. Not absolutely sure, but seems that they are going to use this as an excuse for the ice extent…
    Ecotretas

  20. Talking of criticism of the Met Office, here’s what their website says today:

    Volcanic ash can be seen continuing to spread southwest from Iceland towards the United Kingdom (shown as a plume of bright orange and red colours on the satellite imagery).

    I think they mean South-East.

  21. In 1991 I flew past the Pinitubo volcano at 30,000ft in a 747 en route to Hong Kong. The volcano had erupted a few hours earlier as we took off from Melbourne. The plume was going way above us and was a violent gnashing of ash and lightning. The Captain never said a word as we peeled right away from it. A sight I’ll never forget.

  22. Jimmy,
    Having used several hundred litres of concentrated HF in a normal lab for dissolving silicate rocks, I can agree that it is indeed really nasty stuff. There are reports of fatalities from skin contact of only a few square inches. It seriously disturbs the electrolyte balance of the body, which shuts down in a few hours after a bad episode.
    However, many of these things are like poisonous snakes. Here, most bites to humans happen when the humans try to kill the snake instead of walking away. So it is with dangerous chemicals. If you do not get close to them, they do not harm you.
    I cannot recall a medical paper ever reporting an episode where numerous people were killed by HF, but then I have not done thorough research in recent years. I would be surprised if the dilute HF produced by this volcano posed a risk to humans. We are not hearing of mass hospitalisations for respiratory problems.
    So please don’t spread chemophobic scare stories unless you have evidence. There is a current social wave of undeserved hysteria against chemicals, including fertilizers. I would guess that a reduction in chemical fertilizers (in order to do trendy organic farming, however defined) would already have caused many, many deaths from starvation.

  23. I hate to defend anything the Met Office computers say in the UK, but I have to say that where I live in Devon in the SW there has been a thin, but noticeable, covering of fine dust on the car for the last three days (pale grey and rather sticky when trying to get it off the windscreen). There has also been a faint haze in the air and I have found it has made my eyes itchy when being outside for any length of time. Both these are gone this morning so maybe the ash cloud really has been having at least some effect here that has eased today.
    When we have had sahara sand deposits – which happens once or twice most years – it has usually been thicker, grainier and more of a yelowish-brown colour.

  24. Ricardo (00:36:18) :
    The ash from the volcano and Saharan dust will both be predominantly fine silica. The melting points therefore won’t be appreciably different, surely?

  25. Mike Haseler (00:37)
    “These scarientists are to science what quacks are to medicine. They use real scientific research and real scientific language to enrich themselves.”
    Yes, I see it the same way. We have entered The Age Of Certainty, where risk-aversion holds sway. I reckon that these quacks are feeding off an undercurrent in our society which rewards ‘wolf-criers’ and vilifies their opposite, for which I don’t have a label. How to describe those who say, “I can’t prove that this activity is 100% safe, but I have the courage to carry on because precautionary cessation has its own costs”?
    The civil aviation authorities have every interest in ‘better safe than sorry’; there is today no mileage in stoicism. If our forefathers had insisted on guaranteed safety, the great voyages of exploration would never have taken place.
    I see parallels between the aviation shutdown and the AGW hypothesis. In both cases the watchword is “no, but it might”. Those whose lives are ruled by “no but it might” pay a price for such overcaution.

  26. Ricardo (00:36:18) :

    Even if each flight through trace volcanic ash only degraded the performance of the engine by on average 1% (say), would you get on the flight?
    Considering that an engine costs about $US10 million to overhaul, that would add about $1,000 per short haul ticket (assuming you went the 100 flights) AND on average about 200 flight PER DAY, in Europe would flame out.
    I’m afraid until someone invents both a way to real-time find out where the ash is AND an effective way to re-certify the engine after each flight; we will all be at the mercy of ‘mother nature’

    That’s exactly what bothers me about the new debate about the flight ban.
    Not only do airlines etc not know what amount of ash in the air is dangerous, they also do not know how many passes through an ash cloud it takes to damage the engines. This is, I believe, why none of the airlines protested the first few days of the flight ban. After all, disruptions have been shortlived in the past, no reason to think this would be different.
    Just because a few airlines got a few planes up for a few hours means nothing really, it’s more when the skies are filled with planes again that we might see incidents happening. There are way too many flight routes for all of them to be safe under the circumstances. Flying in the face of danger belongs in the next Bond movie not in our lives.
    Personally, after trying for two days to phone Ryanair I decided the ferry from Belgium to Scotland would get me home sooner. I’m not exactly looking forward to the 8 hour drive to the port, esp with three kids but I am glad we’re not flying right now. Yes, I know that driving is more dangerous than flying but it’s not like the ash is in a sharply defined area. There are patches of high concentration ash up there looking like any old cloud and you wouldn’t know the difference until it shuts down your engines. Thanks, but no thanks this week.
    Must say though, given the fact that this volcano might keep going for a while we do desperately need planes equipped with particle meters like that research plane which went up Thursday and Sunday and found high ash concentrations in places.
    Guy Gratton, head of the Facility for Airborne Atmospheric Measurements at Britain’s Cranfield University said in a CNN interview on Sunday they never flew into the ash cloud, their meter told them where the ash was and they “pointed their plane the other way” as fast as they could.
    Surely, that might be an option to maintain a rudimentary flight schedule if you could equip some planes with these meters.

  27. Hmmm as we’re at it, how would global warming come out in a single composite greek-rooted, nicely academic-looking word? Geopyrosis, geothermolysis, geanthropothermolysis, anthropoathmopyrexya, …

  28. Geoff Sherrington (02:18:48) :
    ….”There is a current social wave of undeserved hysteria against chemicals, including fertilizers…..”
    As a chemist, I couldn’t agree with you more!!!
    I love it when I hear people say “there are no chemicals in there…just good natural stuff”.. Oh really? Water is no longer a chemical? And what about all that good natural stuff, like hemlock and poison ivy and mandrake and plutonium?

  29. To be fair to the Met Office in this case their models seem to be fairly accurate. The problem seems to be with the ICAO guidelines which set a zero tolerance for ash

    Last updated: 1231 BST on Tuesday, 20 April 2010
    Volcano
    Eruptions from Eyjafjallajökull have continued overnight with debris being emitted up to 4 to 5 km for much of the time. Weather patterns continue to blow areas of ash towards the UK.
    The Met Office uses multiple dispersion models endorsed by the international meteorological community. The output from the Met Office volcanic ash dispersion model has been compared with our neighbouring VAACs in Canada and France since the beginning of this incident and the results are consistent.
    Our models are confirmed by observations which have seen ash in the UK and south of England. These include:
    * Met Office and NERC aircraft have observed volcanic ash in UK airspace at varying heights.
    * Multiple land observations have recorded ash in the skies across the UK, including across southern Britain.
    * Balloon observations have shown a 600 m deep ash cloud at an altitude of 4 km across parts of the UK.
    * NATO F16 fighter jets have reported engine damage, due to volcanic ash when flying through European airspace.
    The Met Office is the north-west European Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre with responsibility for issuing the Volcanic Ash Advisories for volcanoes erupting in this area in line with internationally agreed standards and processes. This means the Met Office’s role is to support NATS, CAA and other aviation authorities decision-making.
    It is for the aviation industry and regulator to set thresholds for safe ash ingestion. Currently, world-wide advice from ICAO is based on engine and airframe manufacturers stating a zero tolerance to ash ingestion. This means that aircraft should not be exposed to any volcanic ash.

  30. Geoff Sherrington (02:18:48) :

    Jimmy,
    Having used several hundred litres of concentrated HF in a normal lab for dissolving silicate rocks, I can agree that it is indeed really nasty stuff. …
    I cannot recall a medical paper ever reporting an episode where numerous people were killed by HF, but then I have not done thorough research in recent years. I would be surprised if the dilute HF produced by this volcano posed a risk to humans. We are not hearing of mass hospitalisations for respiratory problems.

    First, (being pedantic here), Jimmy compared it to excrement. My guess is if can make it through the digestive track, it can’t be that nasty. Referring to it as “nasty stuff” works a lot better for me!
    The current pipsqueak of an eruption is not like past ones. I haven’t hunted them down this week, but past, much bigger, Iceland eruptions have killed livestock in France, ostensibly due to HF contamination on pasture land.
    I have no idea what this eruption will turn into. The worst could be very, very bad, so I’m not even sure if it’s worth more speculation. All I know for sure is that I’m glad I’m not a public safety official in Europe!

  31. Geoff Sherrington (02:18:48) :
    You are correct our society is naive and prone to listen to garbage science with no regard to consequences of decisions.
    It would be interesting to see the chemical make up of this volcanic plume. Our bodies are designed to be exposed to what is “normally” in our environment but exposing anything foreign is usually toxic. But this also is the length of exposure, what chemical compositions are being exposed and if the chemical interact with other chemicals in the environment, etc. This exposure could go on for some time.
    Only time will tell if there is an increase of lung exposure diseases in the future to the areas exposed.
    If I had a choice, would I live there right now and guessing the exposure to be safe?
    No. But to encourage a whole country would be economic collapse in a time of high economic debt. So if it was toxic, would the leaders abandon ship?

  32. Josualdo (04:12:36),
    The IPCC will surely love it!
    Geanthropothermolysis and anthropoathmopyrexya could then be argued by others, pointing out that it’s anti-geanthropothermolysis, or pseudo-anthropoathmopyrexya.
    The more confused, alarmed and frightened the populace can be made to feel over natural events like volcanoes or droughts or fluctuations in Arctic ice extent, the easier it is to tax them to death and run their lives. They will be assured that their freedom is a small price to pay for their safety, and that government bureaucrats know what is best for them.
    What we’re seeing are simply normal events that always occur over time. Nothing unusual is happening that hasn’t happened many times before. But with scary words, people can be convinced that the situation is abnormal, unprecedented, and that the government must save us… so the politicians and bureaucrats stand ready to rescue the sheep from natural events. For a price, of course. All we need to do is sign on the dotted line.
    Here, Hanrahan is the government, speaking to the congregation:
    SAID HANRAHAN by John O’Brien
    “We’ll all be rooned,” said Hanrahan,
    In accents most forlorn,
    Outside the church, ‘ere Mass began,
    One frosty Sunday morn.
    The congregation stood about,
    Coat-collars to the ears,
    And talked of stock, and crops, and drought,
    As it had done for years.
    “It’s looking crook,” said Daniel Croke;
    “Bedad, it’s cruke, me lad,
    For never since the banks went broke
    Has seasons been so bad.”
    “It’s dry, all right,” said young O’Neil,
    With which astute remark
    He squatted down upon his heel
    And chewed a piece of bark.
    And so around the chorus ran
    “It’s keepin’ dry, no doubt.”
    “We’ll all be rooned,” said Hanrahan,
    “Before the year is out.”
    “The crops are done; ye’ll have your work
    To save one bag of grain;
    From here way out to Back-o’-Bourke
    They’re singin’ out for rain.
    “They’re singin’ out for rain,” he said,
    “And all the tanks are dry.”
    The congregation scratched its head,
    And gazed around the sky.
    “There won’t be grass, in any case,
    Enough to feed an ass;
    There’s not a blade on Casey’s place
    As I came down to Mass.”
    “If rain don’t come this month,” said Dan,
    And cleared his throat to speak –
    “We’ll all be rooned,” said Hanrahan,
    “If rain don’t come this week.”
    A heavy silence seemed to steal
    On all at this remark;
    And each man squatted on his heel,
    And chewed a piece of bark.
    “We want an inch of rain, we do,”
    O’Neil observed at last;
    But Croke “maintained” we wanted two
    To put the danger past.
    “If we don’t get three inches, man,
    Or four to break this drought,
    We’ll all be rooned,” said Hanrahan,
    “Before the year is out.”
    In God’s good time down came the rain;
    And all the afternoon
    On iron roof and window-pane
    It drummed a homely tune.
    And through the night it pattered still,
    And lightsome, gladsome elves
    On dripping spout and window-sill
    Kept talking to themselves.
    It pelted, pelted all day long,
    A-singing at its work,
    Till every heart took up the song
    Way out to Back-o’-Bourke.
    And every creek a banker ran,
    And dams filled overtop;
    “We’ll all be rooned,” said Hanrahan,
    “If this rain doesn’t stop.”
    And stop it did, in God’s good time;
    And spring came in to fold
    A mantle o’er the hills sublime
    Of green and pink and gold.
    And days went by on dancing feet,
    With harvest-hopes immense,
    And laughing eyes beheld the wheat
    Nid-nodding o’er the fence.
    And, oh, the smiles on every face,
    As happy lad and lass
    Through grass knee-deep on Casey’s place
    Went riding down to Mass.
    While round the church in clothes genteel
    Discoursed the men of mark,
    And each man squatted on his heel,
    And chewed his piece of bark.
    “There’ll be bush-fires for sure, me man,
    There will, without a doubt;
    We’ll all be rooned,” said Hanrahan,
    “Before the year is out.”

  33. Paul (3:41)
    no, there is a significant difference between ‘baked’ and ‘very-recently-baked’ silicas.
    I am by no means a geologist (studied a bit but it was a long, long time ago) but I know that jet engines can melt one sort but not the other.
    I think the order if proof kinda goes:
    – Empirical Evidence … Theory … S.W.A.G ( serious wild arse guess).
    Kinda like AGW – except I think they started at the SWAG point!

  34. Dartmoor Resident (02:51:35) :
    “I hate to defend anything the Met Office computers say in the UK, but I have to say that where I live in Devon in the SW there has been a thin, but noticeable, covering of fine dust on the car for the last three days ”
    – Same here in Middlesex. Not only that but the Robins and Blue Tits that were nesting on my house have suddenly disappeared. I realize that this could be due to a myriad of different reasons but (hoping this is not a silly question) is there a remote possibility that something in the air could affect wildlife?

  35. ‘This is getting to be a nightmare without end. Several airlines are on the brink of collapse, and stranded passengers are getting increasingly desperate. And, with impeccable Gallic timing, French railway workers have gone on strike. Plans to feed them into a volcano crater, as human sacrifices, have so far been vetoed by the French government’
    According to Richard North on: http://eureferendum.blogspot.com/

  36. “Ricardo (00:36:18) :
    The ash from the volcano and Saharan dust will both be predominantly fine silica. The melting points therefore won’t be appreciably different, surely?

    http://scienceblogs.com/eruptions/
    This is a good site for detailed answers.
    One of the posters said that this volcanic ash was near 57% silicate, and that sahara sand was near pure silicate. Evidently, pure silicate has a higher melting point.

  37. Oldjim: To be fair to the Met Office in this case their models seem to be fairly accurate. The problem seems to be with the ICAO guidelines which set a zero tolerance for ash
    There computer model seems to be accurate QED the use of the computer model is held to be “accurate”. That is rubbish, the computer model predicts that planes cannot fly safely in a huge area where there have been test flights that show they can fly safely.
    There is also the stupid fact that flying is safer than going by road (particularly long journeys on the wrong side of the road) and so stopping people flying has put people at risk
    What is missing from this whole debacle is common sense. The atmosphere is not dust free, it certainly isn’t bird free and flying with or without volcanic risk has a risk attached to it … one that is orders of magnitude lower per mile travelled than hiring a car the other side of Europe and driving three days without proper sleep to get back home.
    The appropriate question not: “where is the dust”, but “where are concentrations of dust sufficient to cause serious damage to aircraft”.
    For Watt’s sake, what would we all do if the Met Office produced a prediction of where there was a risk of bird strike? Based on their “no tolerance of risk”, all planes would be grounded in all locations bar the South Pole.
    At the very least lets get the aircraft back into the sky during the day when the pilots can see whether there are any problems – and by all means have additional engineering inspections of all aircraft after flying through potentially contaminated airspace, but lets stop this ridiculous nonsense about any level of dust must cause all aircraft to be grounded.

  38. If the Eyjafjallajoekull continues to erupt for 2 years we are likely to experience intermittent disruption over Europe’s airspace for some time. However if it sets Katla off, as I understand it has each time in recorded history that it’s erupted, we could be in for far more serious consequences.
    I hope there is a serious effort being made to monitor Katla rather than just Eyjafjalla….

  39. http://www.nasa.gov/centers/dryden/pdf/88751main_H-2511.pdf
    This is an excellent paper on what can happen at very low ash levels.
    Highlights:
    1) 0% of modern jets have crashed after entering ash clouds.
    2) 8% have had engine flame out.
    3) In the case of one of the 4 engines on the Nasa plane, the time before failure was reduced to an estimate 150 hours or less.
    4) The damage was not found on the engines until the engine was sent back to the manufacturer to rebuild.
    Personal Opinion:
    At least 8% of airplanes, and maybe near 100% of planes that fly through low levels of ash will be grounded until a major engine overhaul is finished. I believe the airlines are trapped between two paths to bankruptcy. One, they have no revenue because they do not fly. Two, they fly the plans, and accept that say 1% of the planes will need to be scrapped each day.
    Only an Act of God or an Act of Bailout can save them.

  40. stevengoddard (22:06:36) :
    I’m not flying in a jet plane through that mess. That is one dirty cloud.

    No, I would not either.
    I am not going to criticize the airlines for being cautious. I am critical for the use of computer models that, if reports are correct, do not accurately track the progress of the ash.
    It’s funny how we all casually accept everyday dangers. Statistically, driving to and from work everyday is probably the most dangerous thing we do. But we tend to fear the unfamiliar or uncommon much more. How does flying near the ash cloud compare with the odds of being struck by lightening? How about the chance of experiencing a shark attack?
    Regarding the economic cost to the airlines: Commercial air traffic regularly operates in the Middle East and South Central Asia. How does the increase in wear and tear on the aircraft compare with operating in dessert conditions?

  41. Edbhoy (06:06:05) : I hope there is a serious effort being made to monitor Katla rather than just Eyjafjalla….

    Iceland was formed by volcanism….. The Icelanders are very aware of this fact and the volcanic history. You can be assured that all serious threat volcanoes in Iceland are being closely monitored.
    Katla has erupted in every century since the period of settlement at least once or twice per century. So it’s only a matter of when. Some eruptions are larger than others.

  42. OT:
    Climate sceptic wins landmark data victory ‘for price of a stamp’
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/apr/20/climate-sceptic-wins-data-victory
    “Baillie says his data won’t help either way in [the MWP] argument. Last year he and his Belfast colleague Ana Garcia-Suarez, published a study showing that Irish oaks record summer rainfall well, but not temperature. “Keenan is the only person in the world claiming that our oak-ring patterns are temperature records,” Baillie told the Guardian.”
    What? I thought tree rings were supposed to be infallible thermometers!

  43. @ Enneagram (05:34:00) :
    Is good to know that every time the Eyjafjallajoekull Volcano has erupted, a few weeks or months after, the real BIG ONE Iceland volcano, the Katla, has erupted. Here you can find, live, data from sensors at Katla volcano. As you can see its activity is increasing:
    http://hraun.vedur.is/ja/Katla2009/stodvaplott.html
    Enneagram, that’s the tremmor graph!
    The fact is there are no quakes at Katla.
    The volcano is still a sleep. No worries for now!

  44. Shevva (00:17:02) :
    @JohnH – Maybe we can call people that are critising the MET office ‘deniers’?

    I prefer to be called realist, or empiricist.
    And the ones supporting the MET office could be called reality modelers, or even better, charlatans.

  45. There are a number of interesting stories in all this.
    For instance:
    – the MET office is doing all it can but ground based lasers and aircraft to track the ash are at a minimum, and the satellite can’t track ash when it thins; http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8630893.stm
    – there isn’t an aviation standard for ash hazards and probably isn’t a health standard either
    – activity at Katla has risen 200% in the last 2 days http://scienceray.com/earth-sciences/locals-believe-katla-volcano-in-iceland-near-eyjafjallajokull-will-erupt-in-seven-days/
    – this is a minor volcanic event when compared to Katla yet preparation for a Katla event doesn’t seem to be on the books outside and down wind of Iceland
    – ash in sufficient concentration can cause power outages (typically in conjunction with rain)
    – the computer models aren’t accurate enough for a real world event which is a perfect example of why the climate projections are questionable.

  46. Paul (3:41)
    The difference is that volcanic ash has a lower melting point than silicate minerals.
    Desert blown sand is not necessarily silica (SiO2) which is also silicate mineral called quartz, but mat be any or a mix of many different silicate minerals, such as feldspar, mica, pyroxene, etc.
    Minerals have a structured arrangement of atoms that takes more energy (i.e. heat) to break apart. Volcanic ash is primarily glass, which has very little, if any, internal order to its constituent atoms, thus requiring less energy to break apart.

  47. Enneagram (05:34:00) :
    My understanding is Eyja… has preceeded Katla for several eruption events however Katla does not erupt every time Eyja does.
    While I agree we need less chemical hysteria – flouride poisoning to sheep and cattle was evident in the early 19th century eruption. It seems to have been related to flouride buildup on the pastureland rather than direct effects of HF. However- perspective is required- the flouride poisoning was very localized.

  48. As to my earlier post— the threat of flouride is but one of the many risks associated with living in proximity to an active volcano— the dominant risk being too close.

  49. Edbhoy (06:06:05) :
    If the Eyjafjallajoekull continues to erupt for 2 years we are likely to experience intermittent disruption over Europe’s airspace for some time. However if it sets Katla off, as I understand it has each time in recorded history that it’s erupted, we could be in for far more serious consequences. . .

    Like a renaissance in travel by rail and sea? Every cloud has a silver lining!
    /Mr Lynn

  50. Re: Ricardo (05:30:08) :
    “Paul (3:41)
    no, there is a significant difference between ‘baked’ and ‘very-recently-baked’ ”
    I would guess that the size and porosity would make a difference as the heat would penetrate the ash faster.
    On a slightly different issue, I read an editorial by a meteorologist recently proposing that by the time the ash reaches the UK and the rest, the larger particles which can actually hit surfaces in the engines have fallen out and the particles remaining are so light that the airflow through the engine keeps them from making contact; whether they are molten or not. While I think that the decision to close airspace was right in the beginning, the issue needs to be looked at quickly in case we are causing extended chaos without need.

  51. Ref – Agust H. Bjarnason (00:11:33) :
    “Hear how Eyjafjallajökull is pronounced in Icelandic:

    The name Eyja-fjalla-jökull means:
    Eyja: Islands, probably Westman Islands south of the glacier.
    -fjalla: mountains
    -jökull: glacier…
    __________________________
    Simple people have a way of making the difficult less so. Here’s my contribution to the most confounding aspect of Icelandic Volcanology – “Eyjafjallajökull” equals “Eyekull”;-)

  52. Edbhoy (06:06:05) :
    Would it not be prudent, then, to take steps to melt the ice cap over Katla before it might erupt in order to forestall a deadly pall from descending on the EU? Just practicing a little Precautionary Principle.

  53. Re: Jimmy Haigh (23:48:42) :
    “I think that the worst thing about the Icelandic volcanoes is that they can spew out hydrofluoric acid. That is seriously nasty sh*t.”
    In the one chem report that I’ve seen, [unpronounceable volcano]’s ash is 12.12% calcium oxide, sodium oxide, and potassium oxide. Mixed with water, they form pretty strong bases that can interact with the HF, which turns to hydrofluoric acid with addition of water.
    I think they want rain.

  54. Anyone who is familiar with Marcel Leroux’s work could have done better than the Met Office. Ryan Maue superb shot confirms it.

  55. Dartmoor Resident (02:51:35) :
    they are not worried about the ash that is heavy enough to settle. they worried about the ones that are staying up at 20000+ feet. no one seems to know what the concentrations are.
    is there any report of balloons being sent up to measure concentrations and are samples being captured from the 20K-40K altitude?

  56. And if one..just one airbus packed with joyously returning families plunges dirtward,who carries that particular can?
    I`m going to suggest the ever increasing wails from the airlines and associated
    industries are simply an opening gambit in screwing the european taxpayers for compensation.
    It`s quite possible the airlines are as grateful as hell the decisions aren`t theirs to make.

  57. Ágúst,
    When I hear the pronunciation of Eyjafjallajökull my brain only comprehends it as “amber lager” which has all sorts of wonderful connotations. This got me thinking that maybe the Icelanders should rename the volcano and cash-in on some marketing money from Michelob.
    🙂

  58. “Ricardo (00:36:18) :
    Re Pete H 10:12pm and others
    the reason that jet engines have a problem with volcanic ash …..
    (SNIP)
    ….
    Even if each flight through trace volcanic ash only degraded the performance of the engine by on average 1% (say), would you get on the flight?
    Considering that an engine costs about $US10 million to overhaul, that would add about $1,000 per short haul ticket (assuming you went the 100 flights) AND on average about 200 flight PER DAY, in Europe would flame out.
    I’m afraid until someone invents both a way to real-time find out where the ash is AND an effective way to re-certify the engine after each flight; we will all be at the mercy of ‘mother nature’”
    Sorry Ricardo. Even if each flight causes 1% build up, the distribution of build up will always be heavier towards the 90th flight that the 10th flight.
    If good maintenance practices (video inspections) are done at proper intervals on at risk aircraft that routinely fly through the ash, the build up can be recorded and tracked. Also ash builds up unevenly and the vibration sensors on the engines will show an increasing trend of inbalance on the rotor which also can be tracked.
    Barring a single event that clogs the engine, flight through the plume can be done safely although at an additional cost due to downtime from inspections and maintenance.

  59. Forgive me if I am a little late here as I’ve missed WUWT for a few weeks and somebody may have already raised this question.
    I have been expecting to hear crazed (and usually poorly informed) AGW advocates celebrating the grounding of the aircraft because of the reduction in the Greenhouse gas production.
    I was wondering if anybody had any idea how much CO2 is likely to have been dumped into the atmosphere by the eruption and how many days or weeks or months etc of average EU aircraft activity it would take release the equivalent amount?

  60. JohnH (23:20:59) :
    As mentioned earlier the UK Met Office is coming in for stick for its dust extent forecasting form the EU, telling comment was, we should be concentrating on actual readings not on computer model predictions which have been shown to be faulty.

    Where do you get the idea that the VAACs models have been shown to be faulty? On the contrary they have proved to be very reliable and have been responsible for reducing the number of incidents involving eruption plumes.
    The models have been verified by ‘actual readings’, don’t believe all the politically (and financially) motivated hatchet jobs in the press.
    Translate that to AGW and its sad these same EU officals don’t think the same way, maybe this panic will open their eyes.

  61. I wonder if our civilization hasn’t become too safe? Perhaps our nervous systems are tuned to a band of background threats, and when life is too safe, some percentage of people become prone to hysteria and paranoia?
    Just as our immune systems go wacky when there isn’t enough challenge for it, resulting in higher incidence of auto-immune issues, allergies, etc.

  62. This Ash Cloud is having a devastating effect on our Pig Farm in Devon. We had just recovered from the severe winter in which we lost around 75% of our Hogs, that got frozen to death, and we had invested new money into breeding new Hoglets. We had a big fall of ash the last few days and it must have got mixed up in the Hog feed and we’ve had the vet out now for almost 48 hours trying to save them from the contamination, but I fear we have lost over half of our newborm Hogs. A major disaster following the Winter Cold for us here in Devon. Thing is, our business is now critical, but being simple folk from Devon, we can’t retrain for a new job, as we are mostly raised for Farm handling. All this science is so bewiildering, and without many qualifications we can’t even change our simple lives. We don’t understand all this Science stuff, and we need more education I agree. We just don’t understand what is happening and we get no support from Government who just treat us like simpletons. 🙁

  63. P Hearnden (11:50:06) :
    This Ash Cloud is having a devastating effect on our Pig Farm in Devon

    Got a place left over there for “Piggy Al”?

  64. I would guess that the risks from bird strikes must be orders of magnitude greater than the risk from well diffused ash… any one hazard a figure? We don’t ground aircraft until no birds are flying!

  65. 21.58 Tuesday here in London and the planes are flying into Heathrow again!
    I have watched 4 go over in the past 10 minutes or so.

  66. Top of mind since this eruption started grabbing headlines:
    Is this eruption impacting SAOT (Stratospheric Aerosol Optical Thickness)?
    Perhaps the media will eventually address this. If anyone has seen the answer to this question being addressed in media reports (mainstream or otherwise) please provide links.
    Thank you.

  67. Disaster of 1783
    Things could be much worse though. On June 8, 1783, the Laki volcano erupted and remained active for eight months. Its ash cloud reached as high as 15 kilometres. The poisonous dust that rained down on Iceland killed 10,000 people, a quarter of the island’s population at the time.
    The Icelandic language even has a word for it: Móduhardbindin, meaning “death by famine caused by poisonous gas”. Domestic animals suffered white spots on their skin and burns on their hooves. The little grass that remained turned yellow and pink. Half of all livestock died from poisoning.
    Iceland was not the only country where apocalyptic scenes became reality. In the United Kingdom, the summer of 1783 would go down in history as the “sand summer”. Large swaths of Europe were enveloped in a thick, permanent, haze. The fog rolled over Bergen in Norway first, followed by Prague and Berlin, and finally, Paris and Rome. With visibility at sea extremely limited, ships remained moored in port. By day, a paltry sun emitted little more light than the moon did by night. Only at sunset and sunrise did it turn a deep crimson red.
    Extremely hot summers and cold winters followed, causing crops to fail across Europe. Famine ensued. In the UK alone, 23,000 people died from poisoning in the summer of 1783. In the winter that followed an additional 8,000 succumbed to hunger. In 1784, the United States had its coldest winter ever. Even parts of the Gulf of Mexico froze over. The Mississippi river was covered with ice as far south as New Orleans.
    The eruption’s effects lasted until 1788. France was plagued by heavy storms. Newspaper reports from the era mention hailstones so big they killed cattle on impact. Harvests failed and famine followed. Grain prices reached record heights. The country’s rural populace in particular, which then accounted for 85 percent of the population, rebelled against the bankrupt French monarchy. The Bastille prison was stormed and the Ancien Régime overturned. France would remain a hotbed of unrest for years, long after the Laki volcano in Iceland had already returned to a deep and long-lasting slumber.
    Source: http://www.nrc.nl/international/article2526154.ece/Historic_eruption_on_Iceland_killed_thousands
    It could be a whole lot worse!

  68. In Australia we hear:
    He says Iceland’s volcanic carbon emissions are good news for plant growth and the current eruptions give an indication of the potential for carbon emissions from future volcanos.
    “We are living in a period of volcanic quiescence, as we haven’t had a dirty big eruption since 1912; and this is a small eruption but it is giving us the window into what a very big eruption would be like.”
    http://just-me-in-t.blogspot.com/2010/04/volcano-climate-change.html

  69. BlondieBC (06:00:55) : “One of the posters said that this volcanic ash was near 57% silicate, and that sahara sand was near pure silicate. Evidently, pure silicate has a higher melting point”.
    Silica is SiO2, which is quartz, which is the main mineral present in sand. There is no concept of “pure silicate” in natural chemistry; it is a meaningless term unless described more fully. Silicates are a complex group of chemicals in which silicon is chemically combined with other elements like oxygen, often with aluminium to make aluminosilicates and often with elements like sodium to make sodium aluminosilicate, of which there can be several related sub-types.
    The sand blown from the Sahara has little resemblance to the dust from the volcano, in terms of melting point (SiO2 is fairly high), corrosion, particle size distribution, windscreen abrasion and so on . We are talking about rather different mineral beasts, probably several different major ones in the ash alone.

  70. Joe (05:04:19) :
    It might help to be guided by a French scientist who wrote in translation
    “All substances are poisons; there is none which is not a poison. The right dose differentiates a poison….” Paracelsus (1493-1541)”
    It is also a guiding priciple, but not a universal one, that humans evolved in environments to which they have adaped and become conditioned. For example, some tribes who have never used ethyl alcohol through not knowing of it, can come to like it, though their tolerance can be lower and the effects of disease greater. It seems to take quite a few generations for the human body to accustom itself to new assaults, via changes such as mutation.
    Since humans evolved with nuclear radiation, it should not be regarded as a toxin at ambient level; the same with carbon dioxide re the USA EPA silliness. And, on thread, the fallout of volcanos has been around for a long time and humans ought to have gained some resistance to some of its effects.

  71. LarryD (10:35:02) :
    “I wonder if our civilization hasn’t become too safe? Perhaps our nervous systems are tuned to a band of background threats, and when life is too safe, some percentage of people become prone to hysteria and paranoia?
    Just as our immune systems go wacky when there isn’t enough challenge for it, resulting in higher incidence of auto-immune issues, allergies, etc.”
    Larry, you are right on target. Risk-aversion is one of the curses of modern society, and many of us are blind to the benefits of running a series of modest risks. We somehow see dangers more vividly than we see the benefits of stoical carry-on-regardless.
    I am reminded of some sci-fi novel, where mankind was skulking inside a protective dome. The heroes summoned up the courage to venture into the outside world and concluded something like ‘hey, it’s nice out here’.
    Our ancestors had to contend with war, pestilence and famine. If we discover one of them forzen in a block of ice and resuscitate him, he’ll observe our comfy cosy lives and tell us that we’ve never had it so good. He’ll say, “What? You see apocalypse in a few lousy tenths of a degree on a dodgy thermometer? What a bunch of Mummies Boys! Maybe you should get out more.”

  72. ALL MAJOR [4 VEI AND HIGHER] GLOBAL VOLCANIC ERUPTIONS BY CENTURY
    [LEVEL 5 AND UP (PER VOLCANIC EXPLOSIVITY INDEX OR VEI) IN BRACKETS]
    800 -20[3]
    900 -10[3]
    1000-12[5]
    1100 -8[3]
    1200 -9[2]
    1300-14[3]
    1400-13[5]
    1500-21[4]
    1600-32[12]
    1700-35[4]
    1800-44[8]
    1900-79[12]
    2000-?
    TOTAL 297[64]
    Better record keeping and detection could account for some of the recent increase especially the 1900’s increase when compared to previous eruptions.
    There have been 39 volcanoes with active eruptions in 2010. The 39 figure includes eruptions of all VEI levels and not just those of 4VEI and higher as noted above and those very prominent of 5 VEI and over as also noted above [in brackets]
    All the above data can be seen at
    http://www.volcano.si.edu/world/largeeruptions.cfm
    So major type of eruptions can happen any time as we have not had a major eruption [level 6] since Pinatubo in 1991and we had 12 major eruptions [VEI 5 and higher ]during the last century.

  73. I included erroneously the 2000-2009 figures in the 1900 total in my previous post. This post shows it correctly.
    ALL MAJOR [4 VEI AND HIGHER] GLOBAL VOLCANIC ERUPTIONS BY CENTURY
    [LEVEL 5 AND UP (PER VOLCANIC EXPLOSIVITY INDEX OR VEI) IN BRACKETS]
    800 -20[3]
    900 -10[3]
    1000-12[5]
    1100 -8[3]
    1200 -9[2]
    1300-14[3]
    1400-13[5]
    1500-21[4]
    1600-32[12]
    1700-35[4]
    1800-44[8]
    1900-68[12] (CORRECTED)
    2000-11[0] 1 DECADE ONLY (CORRECTED)
    TOTAL 297[64]

  74. I have never seen any volcanic dust in this part of the uk though some have apparently. We have had a slight frost /frozen rain early in the morning and it remains quite cold although the skies are clear and it is nearly may. I am doubtful that this summer will break any record high temperatures in the uk if the volcano in iceland keeps erupting.

  75. Would it be possible to drop a high potent, strategically precise bomb into the spewing crater which would collapse its walls and shut off the flow of oxygen and quell the flames and smoke?

  76. “jake (22:19:33) :
    Would it be possible to drop a high potent, strategically precise bomb into the spewing crater which would collapse its walls and shut off the flow of oxygen and quell the flames and smoke?”
    How about : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Vortex_Blaster
    See I new reading “Speculative Fiction” as a kid would come in handy one day….:-)

  77. Volcanic ash is one the ingredients of certain ceramic pottery glazes….which is what happens to the inside of a hot jet engine. I would imagine they seize right up. As to the name of the volcano I’m calling it Toots.

  78. I call shenaningans on this whole thing
    I think the flight grounding was to stir up support for high speed rail.
    I have yet to see any pictures of a HUGE ash could over Europe. I heard about people in England who said they couldn’t see anything in the sky, it was a clear and beautiful day.
    We should have sattelite pictures showing a huge cloud, where are they?

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