Forecasting the volcanic ash plume of Iceland's volcano

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 02:45 PM GMT die 19o April, anno 2010

Share this Blog
3
+

The eruption of Iceland's volcano with the unpronounceable name, Eyjafjallajökull, has virtually ceased over the past few hours, with ash only reaching up to 6,000 feet (1800 meters), according to the latest advisory from the UK Met Office. Lightning images from UK Met Office show no new lightning strikes from the volcano's plume since midnight local time today. The relatively small amount of ash present at low altitudes will probably not be able to make it all the way to mainland Europe before falling to the surface and dissipating, since 6,000 feet is below the altitude that the strong winds of jet stream blow. Wednesday through Sunday, the volcano emitted 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 jet stream blows strongly at that altitude range, which allowed for efficient transport of the ash cloud to mainland Europe.


Figure 1. Lightning lights up the night sky in this photo of Eyjafjallajökull's eruption taken on April 16, 2010. Ash particles colliding together separate electric charge, much as ice particles in a thunderstorm do, leading to spectacular lightning displays. Image credit: Marco, Fulle, Stromboli Online.

Forecasts of the movement of the ash cloud are made using trajectory models, which have a number of uncertainties to consider. Firstly, the amount of ash ejected by the volcano is highly uncertain, since our measurements of this quantity are limited. Secondly, the models must compute how high the ash cloud will rise (plume rise), based on the best available measurements of atmospheric stability. Since upper air-observations are taken just twice daily by a very coarse network of balloon soundings, our knowledge of the stability is rather crude. Finally, the trajectory models use forecast winds from a global model such as the GFS model to predict where the plume may go. The forecast winds from this model do not capture much of the complicated structure of the wind field over Europe, leading to a rather fuzzy approximation of where the ash will go. Nevertheless, these models have in general done a respectable job forecasting where the ash from Eyjafjallajökull will go over the past few days.


Figure 2. Cross section of the atmosphere over time over Paliseau, France, on April 16, 2010, as observed using ground-based lidar. Image taken using a 532nm cross polarization NFOV telescope. Note how the ash layer sinks closer to the ground as time progresses, as gravity makes the ash sink to the ground. There may also be some atmospheric subsidence occurring (downward moving air due to large-scale atmospheric processes.) Image credit: Ray Hoff, World Meteorological Organization's Global Atmosphere Watch's Aerosol Lidar Network (GALION).

For the next few days, these models continue to indicate that northwest winds at the jet stream level will continue to affect Iceland. As a result, Spain, Portugal, and Greece will offer the best locations to fly from. The northwesterly winds are expected to continue for the remainder of the week, thanks to an upper-level trough of low pressure over northern Europe. On Saturday April 24, the ECMWF model predicts that the trough will slide eastwards, and a ridge of high pressure will build over Europe. This will bring upper-level winds out of the southwest to Iceland, directing any volcanic ash northwards over the North Pole. Thus for the remainder of this week, expect continued ash clouds over much of Europe if the volcano resumes significant eruptions. But by next Sunday, the ash over Europe should decline considerably. For the latest one-day forecasts of where the ash cloud is expected to go, consult the UKMET Office. The Rhenish Institute for Environmental Research at the University of Cologne also has some excellent simulations from an atmospheric dispersion model of Eyjafjallajökull's eruption plume. The Norwegian Institute for Air Research runs a computer trajectory model called FLEXPART that has 1-day forecasts showing a cross section of the atmosphere. NOAA's Air Resources Laboratory (ARL) lets you perform your own model run using their HYSPLIT model, going out up to 48 hours, using the GFS model as input.


Figure 3. NASA's Aqua satellite captured this image of the eruption at 1:20 UTC on April 17, 2010. Image credit: NASA Earth Observatory.

Links
An excellent source of links of information on the eruption is available at http://islande2010.mbnet.fr/2010/04/eyjafjallajok ul-links-liens-a-propos-de-leyjafjallajokul/. My post on Thursday discusses the likely non-impact of this eruption on Earth's climate. Finally, we need to be keeping an eye on earthquake activity at the dangerous Katla volcano next to Eyjafjallajökull. If that volcano blows, it could mean dwarf the headaches caused by Eyjafjallajökull.

Jeff Masters

Reader Comments

Comments will take a few seconds to appear.

Post Your Comments

Please sign in to post comments.

or Join

Not only will you be able to leave comments on this blog, but you'll also have the ability to upload and share your photos in our Wunder Photos section.

Display: 0, 50, 100, 200 Sort: Newest First - Order Posted

Viewing: 624 - 574

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17Blog Index

Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
(Eyjafjoll)

Iceland

63.63 N, 19.62 W
summit elevation 1666 m
stratovolcano
Link

NICE BIG SNOW FLAKES TODAY IMAGE UP ON CAM 1

KOTG, I saw that earlier, now the little "E" is shooting out plenty of steam from this web-cam.
Member Since: August 25, 2009 Posts: 20 Comments: 6785
Okay...it looks like I'm on!
Member Since: August 26, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 3620
621. Skyepony (Mod)
Quoting leftovers:
if thunderstorm season really gets cranking at the end of may where are the floridians going to put all that water


Just got back from NFL.. rivers swamps are high. Good bit of fence underwater already.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
(Eyjafjoll)

Iceland

63.63 N, 19.62 W
summit elevation 1666 m
stratovolcano
Link

NICE BIG SNOW FLAKES TODAY IMAGE UP ON CAM 1
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53308
Nino 3.4 down to .5

Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15790
technical difficulty. When I put the backpack on, I pulled out the camera cable.

5 mintutes...and then it will work again...

Sorry.
Member Since: August 26, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 3620
Since we have building thunderstorms in my local area at this time, I've decided to do my full test of the live hurricane webcam right now.

If you go to XtremeHurricanes.com and click the "Live Hurricane Webcam" button on the left, all you have to do is click the "play arrow" on the webcam to get it to go.

The chat room works...all you need is a username (no password required.)

And that's it! The webcam is up and running right now. I'm going to go for a walk in the woods and then get you a good shot of the city with thunderstorm action on the way.

Oz---
Member Since: August 26, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 3620
Quoting xcool:
yeah /i tweak my ie8 make fast ...

Cool, how is your baby doing?
Member Since: August 25, 2009 Posts: 20 Comments: 6785
614. xcool
yeah /i tweak my ie8 make fast ...
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15626
Quoting xcool:
see i have ie8 noooproblem here 111

That is good, Xcool. I just find Firefox 3.6.3 is faster on my laptop, then IE8. I have used IE since I bought my first computer in the late 90's. I downloaded the Firefox browser as an experiment, then I deleted the IE8.

I guess it depends on the computer, and the features with it.
Member Since: August 25, 2009 Posts: 20 Comments: 6785
612. JRRP
Quoting wunderkidcayman:
Hey guys I wonder when we will get our first Tropical Wave

me hice esa misma pregunta ayer en la noche
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
611. xcool
see i have ie8 noooproblem here 111
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15626
Quoting wunderkidcayman:
Hey guys I wonder when we will get our first Tropical Wave

That's the $64,000 question! Maybe the beginning of May, per some of the latest computer model runs.
Member Since: August 25, 2009 Posts: 20 Comments: 6785
There are still warm anomalies in the subsurface at El Nino 1-2 and 3 zones. But once those cool waters go to the surface, is over for El Nino.

Link
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting WaterWitch11:


i know, i couldn't stop watching it! that's what i was basing it on, where i could see the glow last night. it just looks different today.

There are low and mid-level clouds blocking many of the summit views today. The Iceland Met and UK Met offices state today's eruption is generating an ash cloud up to about 15,000 feet today, pressure in decreasing as the magma is erupting out of the crater.

Although the intensity of the eruption has decreased somewhat, this can continue in various phases for up to a year.

Katla remains quiet, for the moment. The latest ash clouds will continue to affect portions of Europe until Friday. They expect SW winds as an area of L pressure approaches, temporarily sending the ash NE towards the N Pole.
Member Since: August 25, 2009 Posts: 20 Comments: 6785
Hey guys I wonder when we will get our first Tropical Wave
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Bordonaro:

Ash is blowing in a slightly different direction today. Last night on the web-cams from you could see the glow of erupting magma.


i know, i couldn't stop watching it! that's what i was basing it on, where i could see the glow last night. it just looks different today.
Member Since: August 11, 2008 Posts: 3 Comments: 1582
Quoting WaterWitch11:
hi everyone,

i'm looking at the web cam:

http://eldgos.mila.is/eyjafjallajokull-fra-valahnjuk/

does it look as though the ash is coming from another area? it looks like it's further back than before. i don't know, i could be wrong.

Ash is blowing in a slightly different direction today. Last night on the web-cams from you could see the glow of erupting magma.
Member Since: August 25, 2009 Posts: 20 Comments: 6785
hi everyone,

i'm looking at the web cam:

http://eldgos.mila.is/eyjafjallajokull-fra-valahnjuk/

does it look as though the ash is coming from another area? it looks like it's further back than before. i don't know, i could be wrong.
Member Since: August 11, 2008 Posts: 3 Comments: 1582
602. Skyepony (Mod)
Quoting Tropicsweatherpr:


The Neutral number is +0.5C and its getting closer to that now at +0.8C.


The neutral number is a 3 month average that is between +.5 & -.5.. So even if we see 0 tomorrow it will still be some weeks before we are officially neutral.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Running my Avast Professional 4.6 Virus Scan, so far found one Trojan House Virus compliments of Google ads.

I thought my computer was acting strange.

And I also disabled the Java plug-in patch on my Firefox 3.6.3 browser, which is so much faster and efficient than IE8!
Member Since: August 25, 2009 Posts: 20 Comments: 6785
Quoting hurricane23:
Would not be surprised if El nino persist for a while. Region 3.4 may not fall to 0.0'C for a few months.


The Neutral number is +0.5C and its getting closer to that now at +0.8C.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Jeff9641:
Thunderstorms are getting ready to erupt in C FL. Very tall building clouds here. This is because of -12 to -13 temps in the mid levels.



Sea Breeze is starting to move in.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
596. Skyepony (Mod)
ITCZ took a little dive south the last few days. Mostly laying on the equator..
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Hurricanes101:
GFS long range still shows a system in the SW Caribbean around May 5th this time around

Of course it could mean nothing

The ITCZ has been very active, so it would not be a bid surprise if a Tropical Wave develops in the Caribbean region :o).
Member Since: August 25, 2009 Posts: 20 Comments: 6785
Nino 3.4 now down to .5

We should hit the neutral threshold sometime this week.
Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15790
The USGS world Earthquake map is eerily quiet today!
Member Since: August 25, 2009 Posts: 20 Comments: 6785
GFS long range still shows a system in the SW Caribbean around May 5th this time around

Of course it could mean nothing
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Not Pinatubo wrong area location.
Nasa satellite image five hours after the eruption began in 2002.
Mount Nyiragongo in the Democratic Republic of Congo is one of Africa's most active volcanoes.

The volcano, one of eight along the borders of Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda, has a long history of activity.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting weatherbro:


...And if the Congo volcano blows it's top into the Stratosphere, you can guarantee a record cold Winter! It's closer to the Equator then Pinoto(Heck it's pretty much on it).

Pinoto????? Do you mean Pinatubo?
I am hoping to climb up to the creator lake during my holiday this December.
This is what it did to the Earth's climate.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Skyepony:
I've had no problems. Firefox disabled the JAVA problem before I came in lastnight. I'm a member too. Any members seen the problem?

My pc just showed the same thing, Java Toolkit.
For more info go here Link
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting weatherbro:


...And if the Congo volcano blows it's top into the Stratosphere, you can guarantee a record cold Winter! It's closer to the Equator then Pinoto(Heck it's pretty much on it).

We as men/women on planet Earth already have a whole pile of problems. The last thing we need is a large eruption in the Congo, Iceland or anywhere else!! But you're correct, a large Congo eruption would cause a cold winter for several years.
Member Since: August 25, 2009 Posts: 20 Comments: 6785
Quoting Bordonaro:

We should be either in a "neutral" or a moderate La Nina for winter 2010-11.

Need to wait and see, this volcano, while wreaking havoc over Europe and parts of Asia, has not really emitted enough ash/sulfur dioxide yet to cool that atmosphere.

But, if Katla erupts, that may change.


...And if the Congo volcano blows it's top into the Stratosphere, you can guarantee a record cold Winter! It's closer to the Equator then Pinoto(Heck it's pretty much on it).
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Statement from the Iceland Met Office:


Articles < Seismicity < Icelandic Meteorological office

Go to site map.

Eruption in Iceland - frequently asked questions
Update on activity
Eruption in Eyjafjallajökull, Iceland
Current events
Deflation - 20 April 2010 13:30

Latest available results from GPS stations around Eyjafjallajökull showed deflation associated with the eruption. This suggested that the volume of eruptive material which has been ejected already, relieves pressure off the volcano.

No movements associated with the Katla volcano are presently observed.
Sound blasts - 20 April 2010 12:30

Heavy sound blasts have been heard and found near Eyjafjallajökull, especially south and east of the mountain, and more clearly after wind speeds became lower.

The viscosity of the magma from Eyjafjallajökull is higher than on Fimmvörðuháls. This enhances the explosive sound effect. Shock- and soundwaves are carried long distances.
Member Since: August 25, 2009 Posts: 20 Comments: 6785
An article from the UK Meteorological Centre:

Science underpins ash cloud advice

Last updated: 1541 BST on Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Volcano


Eruptions from Eyjafjallajkull 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.

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%u2019s 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.

As the volcanic activity changes, there may be some clearance of ash at times, over parts of the UK. We will continue to provide timely advice to NATS to help them make the most of these windows of opportunity.

The Met Office is unable to advise of any details of any flights. However, many airlines are providing information on their websites.
Member Since: August 25, 2009 Posts: 20 Comments: 6785
Quoting CycloneOz:


Thursday and Friday are not good options for me, unfortunately.

I need Saturday...but from what I'm seeing, all that severe weather will have moved out of that area by then...and that's a pity...because I could get there pretty easily.

I used to live in Altus, OK...which is smack dab in that area predicted for severe weather.

By Saturday, the Severe Weather threat will be in E TX, E OK, E KS, quite a drive from NM.
Member Since: August 25, 2009 Posts: 20 Comments: 6785
nuthin'?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Bordonaro:

Severe weather should be widespread in the S Plains on Th/Fr. Maybe a trip from NM into the TX Panhandle might be in order:


Thursday and Friday are not good options for me, unfortunately.

I need Saturday...but from what I'm seeing, all that severe weather will have moved out of that area by then...and that's a pity...because I could get there pretty easily.

I used to live in Altus, OK...which is smack dab in that area predicted for severe weather.
Member Since: August 26, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 3620
Quoting CycloneOz:


I'm having trouble right now finding any severe weather forecast in my part of the country for Saturday...

A meteor shower would be cool, but my webcam can't pick it up :P

Severe weather should be widespread in the S Plains on Th/Fr. Maybe a trip from NM into the Eastern TX Panhandle might be in order:

WITH THE GFS AND EURO SHOWING A SIMILAR SOLUTION THROUGH 00Z
FRIDAY...I FELT MORE CONFIDENT THIS MORNING IN THE SLOWER MOVING
POSITIVE TILTING LOW THURSDAY AFTERNOON. THIS WOULD FAVOR A MORE
UNSTABLE ATMOSPHERE AND A FASTER MOVING DRYLINE ON THURSDAY. FORECAST
SOUNDINGS SHOW BACKED LL WINDS ACROSS THE EASTERN CWA WITH ABUNDANT
SURFACE BASED CAPE. IF THIS SCENARIO COMES TOGETHER AS CURRENTLY
PROGGED...SUPER CELLS WILL BE IN THE CARDS. THINKING STORMS MAY
DEVELOP ANYWHERE EARLY ON THURSDAY...BUT BY THE LATE AFTERNOON AND
EVENING THE DRYLINE SHOULD BE SITTING CLOSER TO THE EASTERN HALF OF
THE CWA. SO DECIDED TO UP POPS INTO THE HIGH END CHANCE RANGE IN THE
EASTERN CWA THROUGH EARLY FRIDAY MORNING AND WILL KEEP AN EYE ON THIS
AREA FOR SEVERE.

BY MID MORNING ON FRIDAY...THE DRYLINE SHOULD MIX WELL EAST INTO
OKLAHOMA ALONG WITH DRY SLOTTING ALOFT OVER THE PANHANDLES. FELT THE
SUB MENTIONABLE POPS WERE STILL VALID THROUGH THE EARLY PART OF NEXT
WEEK. ALTHOUGH THERE ARE A FEW POTENTIAL AREAS FOR CONCERN. THE FIRST
IS A COLD FRONT PROGGED FOR SATURDAY NIGHT WHICH MAY PROVIDE JUST
ENOUGH LIFT FOR A STORM OR TWO...BUT GIVEN THE LACK OF SURFACE
MOISTURE DECIDED TO KEEP POPS LOW. ALSO...THE UPPER FLOW BECOME
NORTHWESTERLY WHICH HAS PROVIDED A FEW STORMS OVER THE PAST FEW DAYS.
ALTHOUGH WE HAVE HAD BETTER LL MOISTURE AND A SURFACE TROUGH SITTING
IN EASTERN NEW MEXICO. CURRENTLY DO NOT EXPECT EITHER OF THESE TWO
SITUATIONS FOR THE EARLY PART OF NEXT WEEK SO THE DRY FORECAST
REMAINS IN TACT. GENERALLY TRENDED NEAR GUIDANCE TEMPS THROUGH THE
FORECAST.
Member Since: August 25, 2009 Posts: 20 Comments: 6785
Talking about Global Warming!!!!!!!
Quoting aspectre:
552 CycloneOz "We will be conducting a major test of the live hurricane webcam this coming Saturday...
...the test may be in conjunction with a tornado chase...
Otherwise, I'll have to find something else that is entertaining to watch.
"

I hope it's not an earthquake or volcanic eruption. Hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, and volcanoes are so "been there and done that".
How about arranging for a major asteroid strike instead? Been awhile since the last one.
Quoting aspectre:
552 CycloneOz "We will be conducting a major test of the live hurricane webcam this coming Saturday...
...the test may be in conjunction with a tornado chase...
Otherwise, I'll have to find something else that is entertaining to watch.
"

I hope it's not an earthquake or volcanic eruption. Hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, and volcanoes are so "been there and done that".
How about arranging for a major asteroid strike instead? Been awhile since the last one.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting CycloneOz:


I'm having trouble right now finding any severe weather forecast in my part of the country for Saturday...

A meteor shower would be cool, but my webcam can't pick it up :P


You could go rent a commercial pressure washer and pretend to cover a Hurricane.

Act like your being blown over by 25mph gusts like TWC.

Just joking BTW, lol.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting aspectre:
552 CycloneOz "We will be conducting a major test of the live hurricane webcam this coming Saturday...
...the test may be in conjunction with a tornado chase...
Otherwise, I'll have to find something else that is entertaining to watch.
"

I hope it's not an earthquake or volcanic eruption. Hurricanes, tornados, earthquakes, and volcanoes are so "been there and done that".
How about arranging for a major asteroid strike instead? Been awhile since the last one.


I'm having trouble right now finding any severe weather forecast in my part of the country for Saturday...

A meteor shower would be cool, but my webcam can't pick it up :P
Member Since: August 26, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 3620
552 CycloneOz "We will be conducting a major test of the live hurricane webcam this coming Saturday...
...the test may be in conjunction with a tornado chase...
Otherwise, I'll have to find something else that is entertaining to watch.
"

I hope it's not an earthquake or volcanic eruption. Hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, and volcanoes are so "been there and done that".
How about arranging for a major asteroid strike instead? Been awhile since the last one.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
576. Skyepony (Mod)
I've had no problems. Firefox disabled the JAVA problem before I came in lastnight. I'm a member too. Any members seen the problem?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Ossqss:
I found this item from a few days ago that seems somewhat related to the Firefox warning I received today. The security sites are showing an elevated threat status. That is typical now days. Not sure how helpful this is, but here ya go :)

Wednesday April 14, 2010
Zero-Day Attack Against Java Web Start


Here is one of the comments below the article......


Posted by: Joe Holt
April 15, 2010 12:08 PM

Got nailed with an exploit of this a couple days ago. Most annoying thing it caused was internet search results being redirected to random advertising sites as well as attempting to download Aluveon trojan. Also, after checking a Sonicwall log there were over 100k hits on this Russian site: 117.135.137.117 in one day. This was a pain to clean off my system and standard AV and AM programs didn't do anything. Hopefully they patch this soon.


i got a trojan last week. very embarassing at my work when the MIS people learned I got it from trying to download a funny picture of a man in a kilt with nothing on underneath. i was doing it as a joke for someones birthday. was my face red. but first thing the virus did was disable my vipre software to kill it, so MIS reinstalled vipre and it got the virus. but if i had rebooted it would have been a huge mess.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:

Viewing: 624 - 574

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17Blog Index

Top of Page

About

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.