Thursday, April 15, 2010

Iceland volcano erupts... halts European air travel. Too early to assess long term weather impacts

From Dr Jeff Master's Wunderblog:

The Eyjafjallajökull volcano on Iceland erupted Wednesday, sending a towering cloud of volcanic ash 6 - 11 km (20,000 - 36,000') high in the air from its 1666 meter (5500') high peak. The ash cloud has caused a dramatic interruption of air traffic over much of northern Europe today, and this disruption will spread southwards and eastwards over the next day as the the ash cloud gradually spreads and disperses. (click here for the remainder of Dr Jeff Master's blog entry on this eruption as well as a followup)

It's still too early to speculate how this eruption may impact the global climate over the next few months and years. This initial eruption was too small to have a significant climate influence, especially for a high latitude eruption which tends to get washed out of the atmosphere more quickly than volcanic eruptions over tropical latitudes. However, if this volcanic eruption is sustained for weeks and months (like the Laki Iceland eruption of 1783-4), then it could have significant impacts on the global climate, especially over western Europe. Click here for more information on climatic impacts of volcanic eruptions.

More information available from the UK Met Office and ScienceBlogs . Be sure to check out the eyjafjallajokull webcam for live images of the eruption.

Update Apr 17: Some incredible new photos of the eruption, including this one showing lightning discharge from the ash cloud. Absolutely stunning. More amazing photos available at Stromboli online as well as from the UK Telegraph and Boston Globe.


  1. I realize this is a bit outside Manitoba weather, but there's a high degree of interest on this event. Plus, I wanted to post this dramatic photo of the eruption!

  2. Weather Central!

    I bet your just itching to do some storm chasing...

    Hopefully in a couple of weeks we will get a good setup for a first storm outbreak of the season!

  3. Although suspected to be linked with Mt LAKI (30km away) this unpronouncable Eyjafjallajokull volcano is anecdotally partnered for eruptions with Mt Katla which last erupted in 1918.

  4. Great photo ROB

    Here is another Weather related site with info on this
    SymonSez Not necessarily world calamity Prediction made before April 13th In Feb he predicted a major eruption for Mt Hekla
    Excellent pre April Description and 13th Pics

  5. Thanks Jim.. good article. He makes good points about trying to read too much from this one event.. predicting weather is a breeze compared to predicting volcanic eruptions!

  6. Update: Some new photos and links on the eruption added to this entry. Check out those lightning photos! I thought the one shot was photoshopped, but it appears to be a real image. The others look authentic.

  7. We took a hit today on our flight to Heathrow. No flight happened. We re-booked for next Monday, but I'm not sure even that will be safe. Luckily, it was a sightseeing trip, so no real hardship.

  8. box134..

    Tough break. But things look to be improving. The volcano is not erupting as much, and the upper winds are forecast to become more favourable (southerly) by the end of the week. Hopefully they can clear up the log jam by then.. barring any new eruptions..

  9. I may have spoke too soon.. latest webcam images indicate volcanic activity has increased tonight. (click on my name for webcam)

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