Forecasting the volcanic ash plume of Iceland's volcano

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:45 PM GMT on April 19, 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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Quake this morning local time in Afghanistan killing people and injuring others.
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We need more rain please to clean the air here in North TX!!
Member Since: August 25, 2009 Posts: 20 Comments: 6785
Well, the Pollen Count is about 2700 grains per cubic meter or air, still high, however better than the 5400 reading on Fr 4-16-10.

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Sorry for the double post :0)
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humorous article from the Guardian.


Volcanic ash is the new swine flu panic

Putting large, heavy bits of metal into the air is just too much for the psyche of modern regulators – they panic

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/apr/19/volcanic-ash-another-swine-flu
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March Satellite SST Anomalies:

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the weather certainly cooperated in the 144th Boston Marathon,perfect running weather help to set a new Mens Boston marathon record.
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from http://www.jonfr.com/

"The eruption in Eyjafjallajökull continues to produce ash, even after nearly a week of a eruption in it’s top crater. This eruption is most likely a explosive eruption, so water might be needed to make ash. But the water does not help when it comes out the amount of ash that comes from Eyjafjallajökull. There are no signs of the eruption in Eyjafjallajökull stopping, there are also indicators on tremor plots from IMO that the eruption is actually gaining strength and it has been doing that for the last 48 hours or so. There is currently no signs of this eruption ending any time soon.

Due to a strong wind from the north the ash cloud is currently not reaching high altitude. But that is going to change as the wind is going to slow down today, and tomorrow there is going to be a slow wind. But that means the ash plume is going to gain some altitude tomorrow or soon as the wind slows down. The ash drift from Eyjafjallajökull is now south of Iceland, but that means the main ash cloud goes to ocean. But farmers nearby are getting covered in ash cloud at the moment and have been for last few days. With little breaks when the wind shifts a little.

According to news reports the ash cloud is due to reach east coast of Canada and U.S in the next few hours. But that is going to effect the air travel in that region, as it has done in Europe for last few days."
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Beautiful group of pictures here.
http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2010/04/more_from_eyjafjallajokull.html
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Little "E" in Iceland is throwing up some more ash, less steam over the last hour or so:
Member Since: August 25, 2009 Posts: 20 Comments: 6785
Quoting NRAamy:
we may get rain tomorrow....

:)

Don't hog all the rain! Please send us some for Friday, thanks :o)! No severe thunderstorms though!
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Quoting NRAamy:
muy bueno...

:)


Hehe... just a little correction.

"Muy bien..." :)
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we may get rain tomorrow....

:)
Member Since: January 24, 2007 Posts: 317 Comments: 31946
Quoting NRAamy:
muy bueno...

:)

Well, that's good :o)! Are you getting some good rain in S CA lately?

We finally got a good soaking rain here on SA/SU in DFW, TX, about 1.73". Good to wash the pollen out of the air.
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Trade winds are running well below normal across the entire MDR for the last week.



Westerly anomalies are showing up on the ESRL analysis, confirming satellite observations:
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muy bueno...

:)
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Quoting NRAamy:
MARCO!!!!!

POLO!!!!

How are you today, Ms. Purple Hippo!!
Member Since: August 25, 2009 Posts: 20 Comments: 6785
Quoting TexasGulf:
Regarding temperature anomalies 2005 vs. 2010, it looks like Joe Bastardi may be correct and the East Coast is in trouble this year. The natural function of a hurricane is to remove heat from the tropics. Nature generally tends to take the most direct path to achieve the goal.

In 2005, the Eastern seaboard was anomalously cooler and the gulf was much warmer. Naturally, the convective cooling was most needed in the gulf. Hurricane activity was concentrated from the tropical Atlantic, through the Carribean and into the Northern Gulf.

In 2010, the Gulf is anomalously cooler and the Eastern seaboard is much warmer than in 2005. Naturally, the convective cooling is most needed along the gulf stream into the New England states. If the trend continues into the summer, perhaps this means a greater chance of hurricanes forming in tropical Atlantic & Carribean more likely to move North along the East Coast.


Well, the gulf won't have a problem warming up to normal or above normal. I don't think the SE US coastal waters will get that warm but the Gulf Stream will likely be a problem. My feeling right now is the congregation of tracks this year is going to be focused more on the Caribbean, but there is concern for a couple that pass to the north and make a run at the eastern seaboard. Some of that depends on how strong the La Nina gets during the summer. The indications are that the waters off the SE US coast are going to be colder than they were in 2005, and they were spared for the most part that year. We shall see though.

And for the record, Joe Bastardi isn't saying the focus of tracks will be up the eastern seaboard this year. He's farther south, but he has also voiced the concern over the next several years for the eastern seaboard and especially New England as we are entering the same climate cycle where we were in the 1950s when those areas got slammed. This could be one of the last years of gulf-focused tracks and we start shifting north.
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Quoting alexhurricane1991:
Hello everyone i just want to take the time and say that i will not be posting on this blog for the foreseable future because now that im in the navy i have to do things every day just about and work i do have a part time job. and other things like seeing family members before i go to boot camp that take away time to post. i may come in if theres a hurricane out there but i cant make that promise in case i dont see you guys again i thank you very much for recieving me as one of your own and keep doing what your doing i learned a lot from this site so again i thank you all! BYE!


i wish you a strong mind and a light heart.
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MARCO!!!!!
Member Since: January 24, 2007 Posts: 317 Comments: 31946
Regarding temperature anomalies 2005 vs. 2010, it looks like Joe Bastardi may be correct and the East Coast is in trouble this year. The natural function of a hurricane is to remove heat from the tropics. Nature generally tends to take the most direct path to achieve the goal.

In 2005, the Eastern seaboard was anomalously cooler and the gulf was much warmer. Naturally, the convective cooling was most needed in the gulf. Hurricane activity was concentrated from the tropical Atlantic, through the Carribean and into the Northern Gulf.

In 2010, the Gulf is anomalously cooler and the Eastern seaboard is much warmer than in 2005. Naturally, the convective cooling is most needed along the gulf stream into the New England states. If the trend continues into the summer, perhaps this means a greater chance of hurricanes forming in tropical Atlantic & Carribean more likely to move North along the East Coast.
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Quoting Levi32:
Looking at March's satellite temperature anomalies for the lower troposphere, the most similar year in our part of the world was, unfortunately, 2005. This is the only year being looked at for this hurricane season that still had this warm MDR with cold over the top look over the Atlantic in March.

For the record, I consider the 2005 map to look much worse than our current one, as the anomalies were perfectly straight across the MDR, instead of slanting far to the NE up the African coast and putting cool water off the SE US like this year. The gulf was also warmer in 2005. Overall it was a much scarier look then than it is now, but this year is also very concerning, especially since 2005 has the most similar presentation.

March 2010 MSU TLT Anomalies:



March 2005 MSU TLT Anomalies:







I've been getting some vibes about this year Hurricane season and those that I got in 2004/05. So far current and foreseeable atmosphere conditions are inclining towards an active season this year... we'll just have to see how El Niño will further behave as we get into the start of the HURR season as well as SAL.
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Quoting alexhurricane1991:
Hello everyone i just want to take the time and say that i will not be posting on this blog for the foreseable future because now that im in the navy i have to do things every day just about and work i do have a part time job. and other things like seeing family members before i go to boot camp that take away time to post. i may come in if theres a hurricane out there but i cant make that promise in case i dont see you guys again i thank you very much for recieving me as one of your own and keep doing what your doing i learned a lot from this site so again i thank you all! BYE!


Hope to see you around again!

thanks for serving!

good luck!
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Quoting Skyepony:


T-depth anomaly




1958 is very similar so far.
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50. Skyepony (Mod)


T-depth anomaly
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45. Alex...

Take care out there and good luck.
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Quoting alexhurricane1991:
Hello everyone i just want to take the time and say that i will not be posting on this blog for the foreseable future because now that im in the navy i have to do things every day just about and work i do have a part time job. and other things like seeing family members before i go to boot camp that take away time to post. i may come in if theres a hurricane out there but i cant make that promise in case i dont see you guys again i thank you very much for recieving me as one of your own and keep doing what your doing i learned a lot from this site so again i thank you all! BYE!


Good luck Alex :) Hope to see you around again sometime.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26548
Quoting alexhurricane1991:
Hello everyone i just want to take the time and say that i will not be posting on this blog for the foreseable future because now that im in the navy i have to do things every day just about and work i do have a part time job. and other things like seeing family members before i go to boot camp that take away time to post. i may come in if theres a hurricane out there but i cant make that promise in case i dont see you guys again i thank you very much for recieving me as one of your own and keep doing what your doing i learned a lot from this site so again i thank you all! BYE!


Thanks for serving Alex..

Go Navy, beat Army.. again!
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Quoting alexhurricane1991:
Hello everyone i just want to take the time and say that i will not be posting on this blog for the foreseable future because now that im in the navy i have to do things every day just about and work i do have a part time job. and other things like seeing family members before i go to boot camp that take away time to post. i may come in if theres a hurricane out there but i cant make that promise in case i dont see you guys again i thank you very much for recieving me as one of your own and keep doing what your doing i learned a lot from this site so again i thank you all! BYE!

You're welcome, be blessed in all you do, hope to see you around the blog, peace!
Member Since: August 25, 2009 Posts: 20 Comments: 6785
Hello everyone i just want to take the time and say that i will not be posting on this blog for the foreseable future because now that im in the navy i have to do things every day just about and work i do have a part time job. and other things like seeing family members before i go to boot camp that take away time to post. i may come in if theres a hurricane out there but i cant make that promise in case i dont see you guys again i thank you very much for recieving me as one of your own and keep doing what your doing i learned a lot from this site so again i thank you all! BYE!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: August 25, 2009 Posts: 20 Comments: 6785
Looking at March's satellite temperature anomalies for the lower troposphere, the most similar year in our part of the world was, unfortunately, 2005. This is the only year being looked at for this hurricane season that still had this warm MDR with cold over the top look over the Atlantic in March.

For the record, I consider the 2005 map to look much worse than our current one, as the anomalies were perfectly straight across the MDR, instead of slanting far to the NE up the African coast and putting cool water off the SE US like this year. The gulf was also warmer in 2005. Overall it was a much scarier look then than it is now, but this year is also very concerning, especially since 2005 has the most similar presentation.

March 2010 MSU TLT Anomalies:



March 2005 MSU TLT Anomalies:





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Latest Full Disk

WEST Full Disk
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Most Recent GOES image East USA
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Quoting barbamz:


Good night, Aussie. Always appreciate the news from down under.

Sleep well, I gather it's about 2:37AM your local time Aussie!
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Quoting Levi32:
The PDO, after peaking very low for how strong of an El Nino we had this winter, is now on its way down, taking a decent fall in March. It is forecasted to continue downward, eventually into the negative during the summer. I personally think it will come down faster than this model is portraying.


For those who have the question, "What is the PDO"? An explanation in the link below:
Link
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Quoting AussieStorm:

Here in Sydney, normally there are flights that go over my place at 10:30pm and 10:45pm before the airport closes at 11pm. Those two flights have not gone over since Thursday night. It's good to have peace and quiet at that time of night, even for a few days.


Goodnight all


Good night, Aussie. Always appreciate the news from down under.
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Quoting PcolaDan:


If I remember correctly, Mainz is in one of the glide paths. Keep an ear to the sky. ;>)


O.K. First condensation trail back in the sky, but in a rather strange direction. They are flying in a different way than usual. Back to work. Maybe see you later on.
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The PDO, after peaking very low for how strong of an El Nino we had this winter, is now on its way down, taking a decent fall in March. It is forecasted to continue downward, eventually into the negative during the summer. I personally think it will come down faster than this model is portraying.

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Incredible photography it does bring the power and the beauty of Mother Nature or perhaps Pele' would be more correct.
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Quoting Bordonaro:

No, we don't want that to happen! Looking better for the folks across "The Pond", in Europe.

Here in Sydney, normally there are flights that go over my place at 10:30pm and 10:45pm before the airport closes at 11pm. Those two flights have not gone over since Thursday night. It's good to have peace and quiet at that time of night, even for a few days.


Goodnight all
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Quoting barbamz:


Hi, Bordo. For sure, I don't want to meet a jet in my living room either.

No, we don't want that to happen! Looking better for the folks across "The Pond", in Europe.
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if you click on the link dr masters provided and then click the dated ones to the left there are a bunch of amazing pictures

Marco, Fulle, Stromboli Online

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Millions a day lost to Queensland tourism as incoming passenger numbers hit

QUEENSLAND'S tourism industry could be losing up to $3.4million a day as volcanic ash covering much of Europe continues to ground planes and wreak havoc on international freight and travel routes.

Commerce Queensland said yesterday that figure was for the British and continental European markets alone.

Such losses could push some small businesses to the wall.

As Europe's civil aviation authorities began talks overnight to pave the way for airports to reopen, a further five Qantas flights into Europe were cancelled, taking the tally to 59 since Wednesday's eruption of Iceland's Eyjafjoell volcano.



Commerce Queensland president David Goodwin said the state's economy could struggle if regular flights were not reinstated soon.

"The airline industry is certainly feeling a big impact, and the tourism operators who were expecting arrivals from Europe will be feeling it fairly shortly," he said.

"But the good news is it won't be one of those things that is going to hang around forever."

He said that every year more than 622,000 European visitors and 189,000 British travellers arrived in Queensland to spend a combined $1.23billion.

Mr Goodwin said it was not yet possible to put a cost on the potential impacts on manufacturers and large importers relying on freight from Europe and Britain.

Queensland Tourism Industry Council chief executive officer Daniel Gschwind said the flight delays could affect confidence in long-haul travel.

"Every day on average 2500 people arrive in Australia from Europe," he said.

"It is obviously going to have a very significant impact on all business that deals with international business – at worst they lose the business, at best they will arrive later."

" If people in Europe conclude it is not worth the risk of travelling far away from home, it will have a dampening effect on consumer confidence when it comes to long-haul travel."

The Brisbane Airport Corporation estimates about 1700 people a day are being affected by the problem, totalling 8500 so far.

About 15 per cent of international passenger movements out of Brisbane are to Europe.

Australia Post said yesterday that mail sent to Europe before April 13 had been delivered. Other items would be stored.

"Any mail that has not been airlifted is being securely stored," a spokeswoman said.

A spokesman for freight giant DHL said yesterday there was a three to five-day delay on freight to and from Europe. Other regions were unaffected.

Qantas said yesterday that despite some test flights by other airlines, it was unsure when full services would resume. The airline was forced to cancel another five outbound flights and five inbound flights from stop-over destinations.

A spokeswoman said customers booked on affected flights should not go to the airport, but would be transferred to the next scheduled service or offered a refund.

"Customers in Singapore, Hong Kong and Bangkok who have revised their travel plans to Europe and wish to return to Australia will be booked on the next available return services at no cost," she said.

"The situation was "likely to continue for some days."
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Britain to lift flight ban at 4pm AEST


* From: AFP
* April 20, 2010 1:29Am


BRITAIN will begin lifting a flight ban at 4pm AEDT today.

Authorities said that they would reopen skies over Scotland and possibly airspace further south later.

Latest forecasts suggest a "continuously improving situation" as the volcano in Iceland has stopped producing ash at altitudes which pose a risk to aircraft in British airspace, said the National Air Traffic Services (NATS).

"The volcanic eruption has reduced and the volcano is not currently emitting ash to altitudes that will affect the UK," said the NATS latest update on the ash cloud which has grounded flights across Europe for five days.

"Assuming there are no further significant ash emissions we are now looking at a continuously improving situation," it added.

Based on the latest weather forecasts, NATS says a flight ban should remain in place until 7am GMT today, after which the airspace over Scotland will be opened.

After that any decisions would be based on updated weather information from the Met Office.

"This is a dynamic and changing situation and is therefore difficult to forecast," it said.

"However, the latest Met Office advice is that the contaminated area will continue to move south with the possibility that restrictions to airspace above England and Wales, including the London area, may be lifted later".

The update came ahead of talks between European Union transport ministers on their response to the volcanic ash cloud, which has paralysed air traffic in much of Europe and led to transport chaos across the continent.
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NASA balloon the size of MCG lands near Longreach in outback Queensland

A NASA balloon the size of the Melbourne Cricket Ground has landed near Longreach in outback Queensland.

MCG, Melbourne Cricket Ground



Scientists launched the balloon last week from the Australian Defence Force Academy's (ADFA) Alice Springs base in the Northern Territory.

It travelled up to 40 kilometres into the atmosphere to gather data about the universe before coming down in a field south of Longreach in western Queensland over the weekend.

Launch director Ravi Sood said anyone who saw the massive balloon coming down might have thought it was a UFO.

When fully inflated, it's 1.3 million cubic metres in volume - or the size of the MCG.

``The balloon was simply a vehicle to take two tonnes of instruments to the top of the atmosphere,'' said Associate Professor Sood, from the University of NSW's School of Physical, Environmental and Mathematical Sciences located at ADFA's Alice Springs base.

``There were three different instruments, all from the United States, that look for X-rays and gamma-rays emitted from certain stars and galaxies.

``Sometimes when a star explodes it emits large amounts of X-rays and gamma-rays which can tell us about the nature of these objects.''

He said the balloon came down without incident and the exercise was a success.
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Quoting PcolaDan:


If I remember correctly, Mainz is in one of the glide paths. Keep an ear to the sky. ;>)


I've just opened the window, lol.
Planes usually reach us in a cycle of two minutes or maybe less.
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Quoting barbamz:


Hi, Bordo. For sure, I don't want to meet a jet in my living room either.


If I remember correctly, Mainz is in one of the glide paths. Keep an ear to the sky. ;>)
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According to http://www.flightradar24.com/ map there is a lot of air traffic now, except over UK and France.
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Quoting Bordonaro:

That's good new for sure! I hope that all flights arrive safely with no problems.


Hi, Bordo. For sure, I don't want to meet a jet in my living room either.
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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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