Forecasting the volcanic ash plume of Iceland's volcano

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

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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

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...and I can't even pronounce that...
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10479
473. JRRP
Quoting StormW:
Thanks for the maps guys! That's what I wanted to point out...1998 had El Nino still ongoing, then transitioned quickly to La Nina...we had 14 named storms that season.

yeah
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eldfjall
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10479
I've been hearing plenty of "experienced professionals" saying that there has not been in increase in the frequency of earthquakes lately, but I call complete BS on that. I have noticed (along with everyone else) that there have been WAY more earthquakes lately than ever before in my life experience.
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So much fer google..


Free Online English to Icelandic Translator

True nuff on da Germans in Norway,..cuz they wouldnt let the West Germans NATO Soldiers in the Brewery Outlet at Mack-O in Tromso,..they could buy from a window on the Street..

Some feelings run,vary deep still,well,..at least in 84.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 421 Comments: 127664
"Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch". :)

That is in Wales!
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 69 Comments: 25458
Quoting all4hurricanes:
Whats the Katla?

Link

Quoting Chicklit:
Impress people and practice this:

Eyjafjallaj%uFFFDl is pronounced similar to "EYE-a-fyat-la-yu-goot.

Here's another nice piece of meterological trivia:
The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer, also known as MODIS, is an instrument that flies aboard both NASA's Aqua and Terra satellites. MODIS captures daily visible and infrared earth imagery and has provided daily images of the volcanic plume. NASA%u2019s MODIS instrument and the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) instrument, both of which fly on Aqua, contain sulfur dioxide (SO2) absorption channels to enhance volcanic ash detection. These applications have significantly improved upon existing satellite-based multi-spectral techniques in identifying and tracking ash clouds and estimating their height.

Here's the link:

redorbit

I would pronounce it "Eye-uh-fee-atla-yoh-kuiidl". It's not "unpronouncable", and neither is "Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch". :)

Quoting MrstormX:
Other nearby volcanoes other then Katla and Eyjafjallajökull include:

Vestmannaeyjar; Last eruption 1973

Tindfjallajökull; Last eruption unknown

Torfajökull; last eruption 1477

Hekla; last eruption 2000

Snaefellsjökull; last eruption 200 A.D.

Katla is probably the number one risk right now, but don't rule Vestmannaeyjar out either.

See here: Link

Quoting presslord:


...but...if the horse is, in fact, dead...we can debate the effect of GW/CC on the rate and nature of decomposition on the body...

The existence of the issue never went away...

Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:

I'm noticing that mag. 4-ish near J. Isbrae.
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Quoting Patrap:


Reyna þýðing a Kreóli uppskrift til a Norskur og splaining hvaða a Roux is.Sheesh,. ÉG næstum went the Regnfrakki O sléttur hlutur yfir og a mikill Lappi uppseldur mig a pelt,some kjöt og a vondur Þjóðverji Stál hnífur með Slíður ,


Hvernig þora að segja að mér! Never been to Lappland and wouldn't buy anything from the Germans. HA What Raincoat?


Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 69 Comments: 25458
the language makes perfect sense...they simply have no vowels...and no punctuation...
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10479
Quoting Grothar:
I wrote to Chicklit before. Some of my friends in Norway and Iceland are having a lot of fun listening to the various pronunciations.

They said, (jokingly) "What is the problem, it is pronounced exactly the way it is spelled."

At least we have given them a good laugh.


Reyna þýðing a Kreóli uppskrift til a Norskur og splaining hvaða a Roux is.Sheesh,. ÉG næstum went the Regnfrakki O sléttur hlutur yfir og a mikill Lappi uppseldur mig a pelt,some kjöt og a vondur Þjóðverji Stál hnífur með Slíður ,
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 421 Comments: 127664
Quoting Grothar:


There are a number of different dialects on the island. Some very different from each other. The pronunciations vary.


What, one dialect per capita?
Member Since: August 22, 2008 Posts: 12 Comments: 6010
Watch the shock wave at 45 second.

Member Since: August 22, 2008 Posts: 12 Comments: 6010
Quoting PcolaDan:


The two Icelandic versions sound different to me. Is one a southerner? ;>)


There are a number of different dialects on the island. Some very different from each other. The pronunciations vary.
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 69 Comments: 25458
This is an interesting storm over the Azores:


In about a week, wind conditions set up to bring the ash possibly over the North Atlantic and toward Southern Ontario (?!?)
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I wrote to Chicklit before. Some of my friends in Norway and Iceland are having a lot of fun listening to the various pronunciations.

They said, (jokingly) "What is the problem, it is pronounced exactly the way it is spelled."

At least we have given them a good laugh.
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 69 Comments: 25458
Quoting Chicklit:
yup. got it.
Ayaylapllaluuplich...
whatever.


The two Icelandic versions sound different to me. Is one a southerner? ;>)
Member Since: August 22, 2008 Posts: 12 Comments: 6010
Quoting presslord:
It's pronounced: vahl CANE oh



LOL. Best one yet!
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 69 Comments: 25458
OK, who needs a hug?

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Quoting presslord:
It's pronounced: vahl CANE oh
\
yeah. that's it.
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yup. got it.
Ayaylapllaluuplich...
whatever.
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Quoting Chicklit:
Okay, belaboring the point:

NotforCowards!






Geez, first you're correcting our English and now you're correcting our Icelandic. LOL
Glad someone is keeping us straight.
Member Since: August 22, 2008 Posts: 12 Comments: 6010
451.) That quake is in a volcanic region.
Member Since: May 27, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 4436
It's pronounced: vahl CANE oh
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10479
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53296
Quoting Chicklit:
Okay, belaboring the point:

NotforCowards!





See! LOL Get my msg.?
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 69 Comments: 25458
Quoting Patrap:
www.canefever.com 2010 Links Dujour"


Bookmarked this!
Member Since: May 27, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 4436
Okay, belaboring the point:

NotforCowards!



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www.canefever.com 2010 Links Dujour"
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 421 Comments: 127664
Im all for a group Hug..


(((((((((Main Blog))))))))
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 421 Comments: 127664
Ok I think Chocolate chip Cookie recipes is a better than GW
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We must all be cranky, having gone hurricane less for months our tempers are likely to flare. But lets do our best to get along!
Member Since: May 27, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 4436
Quoting presslord:


...but...if the horse is, in fact, dead...we can debate the effect of GW/CC on the rate and nature of decomposition on the body...


you have a point :)
Member Since: August 22, 2008 Posts: 12 Comments: 6010
Quoting PcolaDan:


OOOO aren't we the sensitive one. And you're correct, it was in his LAST post. But it doesn't really matter. So many people feel like they can just throw out whatever they feel whenever they want and insist on bringing up GW regardless of the topic. See it in other blogs here all the time. Some just can't give it a rest. The horse can only be so dead.


...but...if the horse is, in fact, dead...we can debate the effect of GW/CC on the rate and nature of decomposition on the body...
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10479
SOI now up to 9.6:

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Quoting GeoffreyWPB:


Forever humiliated! Link


I'm writing the spelling corrections 100X on the blackboard!!! Hehehehe!
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Quoting Snowlover123:

Jeff Masters in his last post talked about Global Warming. This is also a FREE blog. You can FREELY talk about things that you want. One moment we're talking about tropical disturbances, and then the next moment we're talking about Earthquakes! We can change the subject quite quickly, FWI...


OOOO aren't we the sensitive one. And you're correct, it was in his LAST post. But it doesn't really matter. So many people feel like they can just throw out whatever they feel whenever they want and insist on bringing up GW regardless of the topic. See it in other blogs here all the time. Some just can't give it a rest. The horse can only be so dead.
Member Since: August 22, 2008 Posts: 12 Comments: 6010
Quoting Snowlover123:

Jeff Masters 2 posts ago, talked about Global Warming. This is also a FREE blog. You can FREELY talk about things that you want. One moment we're talking about tropical disturbances, and then the next moment we're talking about Earthquakes! We can change the subject quite quickly, FWI...
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
(Eyjafjoll)

Iceland

63.63 N, 19.62 W
summit elevation 1666 m
stratovolcano

Eyjafjallajokull volcano is located in southern Iceland under Eyjafjallajökull icecap. The southern end of the volcano was once part of the Atlantic coastline. The sea level has retreated some 5 km, leaving behind sheer cliffs with and many waterfalls such as Skógafoss.

Eyjafjallajokull volcano contains a 2.5 km wide caldera.

Eyjafjöll has been much less active than neighboring volcanoes. Since 1600's there have only been three eruptions at Eyjafjoll, while nearby Katla had 20 eruptions.

The 2010 eruption site has been named Fimmvörðuháls.

2010 Eruption
An earthquake swarm began under Eyjafjoll volcano in January 2010. There was a 40 mm inflation of the volcano. At the beginning of March 2010 over 3000 earthquakes were measured in a 24 hour period, with a maximum at magnitude 3.1.
An eruption began near the Eyjafjallajökull glacier on 21st March 2010. Locals reported lava fountaining and a lava flow from the glacier. Residents were evacuated. The eruption was limited to an area with little ice, so the threat of a flood was reduced.

17th April Update
A significant eruption was continuing at Eyjafjallajokull volcano in Iceland. Ash emissions were reaching 28,000 ft. On 16th April there was a glacial outburst, and water level in Markarfljót rose by 50 centimeters at 6pm. There was another glacial outburst earlier in the day at Gígjökull glacial tongue. More glacial bursts are expected as the eruption continues.


Thanks for the excellent detail, Keeper.
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I have 2 go... Ciao... and as Douglas Adams says... "so long and thanks for all the fish."

Gee... the Earth seems to be rocking these past few days, and I bet we'll either have a volcanic eruption or an earthquake tomorrow. Many thanks to Bordonaro for the link!
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Quoting PcolaDan:
The blog has been relatively nice but people, out of nowhere, insist on getting a global warming/anti global warming or liberal v conservative dig in. geez louise

Jeff Masters in his last post talked about Global Warming. This is also a FREE blog. You can FREELY talk about things that you want. One moment we're talking about tropical disturbances, and then the next moment we're talking about Earthquakes! We can change the subject quite quickly, FWI...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Snowlover123:

Australia had an Earthquake? What magnitude was it?

5.2Mw, about 400 miles from a plate boundary, check out the article in the link below, there was some damage!
Member Since: August 25, 2009 Posts: 20 Comments: 6785
Quoting kimoskee:


That would be doe, ray, far, sew, tea, doe. LOL


Forever humiliated! Link
Member Since: September 10, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 11011
Quoting Bordonaro:

Link for the Australian Earthquake :o)
Link

Australia had an Earthquake? What magnitude was it?
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I maintain, that if you say,
"EYE-a-fyat-la-yu-goot" enough times, eventually, you'll get it.

Grothar has kindly informed me that it's actually pronounced "Aya-feeya-dla yur-kudl."

It's better to have tried and not quite gotten there than never to have tried at all imho. No one will know if you've pronounced it correctly anyway. Except maybe Grothar.
Go for it.

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Quoting GeoffreyWPB:


Do, a dear, a female dear
Ra, drop of golden sun
Me, a name I call myself
Fa, a long, long way to run,
So, a needle pulling thread,
La, a note to follow so
Te, a drink with jam and bread,
That leads us back to do


That would be doe, ray, far, sew, tea, doe. LOL
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Quoting WaterWitch11:
sorry not in firefox for direct link:

http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/04/20/2877497.htm

eq australia

Link for the Australian Earthquake :o)
Link
Member Since: August 25, 2009 Posts: 20 Comments: 6785
Quoting PcolaDan:


LOL I knew it was just added. Just picking on you. There is one theory I read recently that thinks it may be magma flowing through chambers between the volcanoes. The thought being that a fissure has opened and magma is moving towards Katla. Don't remember where I read that though nor how reliable the information is.


i know, i couldn't think of anything smart alec to say! i can't even type correctly right now.
Member Since: August 11, 2008 Posts: 3 Comments: 1582
Wow well I hope Iceland and Europe get a break
Goodnight everyone
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Mother Nature is always the boss. She does as she wants w/o any help from us. All we can do is cross our fingers that Katia does not follow "E"....However, if it were to blow it's top in a catastropic way we could perhaps look forward to earth cooling for a few yrs possibly and that would sure quiet down the "Global Warming" rhetoric. In 70 plus yrs I have learned one lesson very well. We are only here for the ride. You can enjoy it and watch the show, because you sure as heck can't do anything about it. Let's see we have Thunderstorms, Tornados, Hurricanes, Typhoons, Cyclones, Sunamies, Earthquakes, and Volcanos.
And all we can do is get out of the way and watch. Oh, I forgot the really bad one, Meteors. That's a show we don't want to witness. That could be the last show we all see.
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The blog has been relatively nice but people, out of nowhere, insist on getting a global warming/anti global warming or liberal v conservative dig in. geez louise
Member Since: August 22, 2008 Posts: 12 Comments: 6010
Other nearby volcanoes other then Katla and Eyjafjallajökull include:

Vestmannaeyjar; Last eruption 1973

Tindfjallajökull; Last eruption unknown

Torfajökull; last eruption 1477

Hekla; last eruption 2000

Snaefellsjökull; last eruption 200 A.D.

Katla is probably the number one risk right now, but don't rule Vestmannaeyjar out either.
Member Since: May 27, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 4436

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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.