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Volcano in Iceland Sees Flights Cancelled Across Europe

A volcano in Iceland, which has been erupting for a number of days, is now causing disruption to air travel across Europe as a cloud of ash makes flying impossible in and out of many airports.

Flights have been cancelled in and out of many airports in North West Europe, including Britain and France, which has seen disruption to passenger services from major airports at Heathrow and Charles de Gaulle airports respectively.

The reason for the cancellations is a cloud of volcanic ash which is almost large enough to cover all of mainland Europe, which is currently centred over Scandinavia (see below diagram from the UK Met Office).

Volcanic Ash Dispersion Chart, Iceland April 2010 - Courtesy of Met Office, UK

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One comment

  1. Create your own ash cloud forecasts! All you need is a few years of advanced maths, but for those who are interested, the calculations for ash dispersal are available here:


    The paper begins:

    Volcanic eruptions that spew tephra into the atmosphere pose a hazard to jet aircraft. For this reason, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has designated nine Volcanic Ash and Aviation Centers (VAACs) around the world whose purpose is to track ash clouds from eruptions and notify aircraft so that they may avoid these ash clouds. During eruptions, VAACs and their collaborators run volcanic-ashtransport- and-dispersion (VATD) models that forecast the location and movement of ash clouds.

    The paper then goes onto explain which parameters to use when calculating dispersal.

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