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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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.
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573. Skyepony (Mod)
The slow start to the spring tornadoes is just another way we're similar to 2005.. No worries, we'll make up for it with tornadoes from land falling storms.

I think I'm going to be a doomcaster this season:)
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572. JRRP
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571. Skyepony (Mod)
Clouds of ash from the Iceland volcano are forcing thousands of workers at farms near the Equator to down tools and robbing Kenya's flower and vegetable industry of $3 million per day.

The East African country freights 1,000 metric tons of roses, carnations, French beans, snap peas, and other produce daily on overnight flights to Europe. About 1/3 of the cut flowers sold in the European Union are grown in Kenya.

But the Kenyan, British, and Dutch airlines that fly from Nairobi have been grounded since Thursday, following flight bans due to risks to aircraft from volcanic ash spewing from Iceland's Eyjafjallajökull eruption.

IN PICTURES: Iceland volcano

Already $12 million worth of flowers and vegetables destined for European supermarkets have had to be destroyed or given away.

Jane Ngige, the chief executive of the Kenya Flower Council, estimated that $8 million worth of flowers had been wasted and would have to be composted.

"It's horrendous," she says. "There are batches at the airport that were due to fly last Thursday which have had to be destroyed, and there are farmers having to dump product on their farms."

Growers were investigating flying produce to Spain or northern Africa, and then loading it on trucks to be driven to suppliers, who are fast running out of stock.

"We handled drought, El Niño and post-election violence, but we've never seen anything like this," Stephen Mbithi, head of the Fresh Produce Exporters' Association of Kenya, told the Daily Nation, a Kenyan newspaper. more here
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Quoting nrtiwlnvragn:
Agency: Record slow start to Spring severe weather

Forecasters from the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma, reported today that this has been the slowest start to the Spring severe weather season on record.


We must do something to stop this climate change!!!! Springs are too boring now!!!

(Just kidding before I get hate mail...)
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Quoting skepticall2:


I'm actually get brought to an AD site. If i click but don't let go the letters on the screen all go read like I'm clicking a giant link.
no problems here but iam a paid member no ads also ihave anti vrus anti spware ad blocker and ACTIVE SHIELD PROTECTION NOTHING GETS IN NOTHING
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 174 Comments: 54360
Agency: Record slow start to Spring severe weather

Forecasters from the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma, reported today that this has been the slowest start to the Spring severe weather season on record.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
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.
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Radar observations at the Eyjafjallaj%uFFFDl eruption site 15 April 2010
(If this is 'iforgottoeatmyyoghurt' I shudder to think what Katla looks like!)

Link

Great page, thanks Barbara!
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Ok, on the History Channel this AM, it was stated that by 2010, now, China will be putting more pollutants into the air that cause GW than the USA.....

my question is this: Assuming manmade GW is true, how in the heck does the USA have any chance of combating it when China is like a snow ball rolling down hill?
Member Since: January 24, 2007 Posts: 317 Comments: 31946
Quoting presslord:


this was happening to me yesterday (Firefox)...but not today...

My morning is your night?
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NOAA Hurricane Team to Embark on Gulf Coast Awareness Tour
Public and Media Invited to Tour Hurricane Hunter Aircraft


NOAA hurricane experts will visit five Gulf Coast cities aboard a NOAA hurricane hunter aircraft to raise awareness about storm threats and the danger of being caught without a personal hurricane plan. The five-day tour begins April 26.

Tour Schedule:
•Mon., April 26: Brownsville/S. Padre Intl. Airport, Brownsville, Texas, 3:00-5:00 p.m.
•Tue., April 27: Southeast Texas Regional Airport, Beaumont, Texas, 3:00-5:00 p.m.
•Wed., April 28: Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport, Baton Rouge, La., 3:00-4:30 p.m.
•Thur., April 29: Pensacola Regional Airport, Pensacola, Fla., 2:30-4:30 p.m.
•Fri., April 30: Sarasota/Bradenton Intl. Airport, Sarasota, Fla., 2:30-4:30 p.m.
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Quoting presslord:


this was happening to me yesterday (Firefox)...but not today...


same here.. I thought it was me and reset my modem and router a bunch of times
Member Since: September 23, 2006 Posts: 1 Comments: 2561
Quoting AussieStorm:

I had this, this morning
The connection has timed out


The server at www.wunderground.com is taking too long to respond.

* The site could be temporarily unavailable or too busy. Try again in a few moments.


this was happening to me yesterday (Firefox)...but not today...
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10492
Quoting skepticall2:


I'm on Safari and it is happening to me too.

I had this, this morning
The connection has timed out


The server at www.wunderground.com is taking too long to respond.

* The site could be temporarily unavailable or too busy. Try again in a few moments.
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Quoting rawson20:
this site has some kind of virus, every now and again everything gets underlined and you cant use your curser to do stuff????


What browser are you using?
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School closed, hotel damaged as quake rocks Goldfields




THE Goldfields have been hit by possibly its largest ever earthquake ever this morning, closing the Kalgoorlie Super Pit, damaging buildings and burying a teenage girl under rubble.

Geoscience Australia spokesman Chris Thompson said the earthquake struck at 8.17am and had a magnitude of 5.

Seismologist David Jepsen said the quake was the largest to hit the area in 25 years and possibly the largest ever.
A Fire and Emergency Services Authority spokesperson said the Boulder area had been the worst affected, damaging five or six older hotels on Burt St including the Golden Eagle and RocK Hotel.
Kalgoorlie Inspector Craig Parkin said about 16 blocks in Boulder have been closed because of structural damage concerns to buildings.

He said police had established road blocks to ensure the public could not access areas considered potentially unsafe.

%u201CAt the moment the council is instigating its recovery plan to make sure the buildings are structurally sound.

%u201CThe time of day that it happened was just fortunate because the Golden Eagle Hotel on Boulder Road has lost its balcony and there are a couple of other pubs that have lost their walls.

A teenage receptionist at Goldfields Physiotherapy was knocked out after being buried under rubble when its roof collapsed.

Her manager and colleagues dug her out. She was unconscious but came around before paramedics arrived.

Burt and Lane St have been closed and FESA is warning people to avoid the area.

The earthquake forced the evacuation of Kalgoorlie%u2019s Super Pit, the largest gold open pit mine in Australia.

A Super Pit spokeswoman said workers were evacuated as a precautionary measure and workers had not suffered any injuries.

She said geotechnical assessors were undertaking preliminary investigations to determine if there had been any damage to facilities.

Residents told ABC local radio they feared their homes may fall down with one saying her family sheltered beneath door frames. Some said there had been aftershocks.

Two people from Boulder have been treated for minor injuries at Kalgoorlie Hospital but there have been no reports of serious injuries.

Several schools in the area have been damaged and schoolchildren evacuated

An Education Department spokesman said Boulder Primary School had been evacuated but is not closed after suffering damage during the earthquake.

Building damage at Kalgoorlie School of the Air was also reported. The school has also been closed for the day.

Administration staff at O'Connor Primary School were also forced to evacuate during the tremor due to building damage.

The Education Department spokesman said Kalgoorlie Primary School suffered little damage.

Mr Thompson said the earthquake was on the larger end of the scale for Australia.

Geoscience Australia seismologist David Jepsen said the quake hit about 10km southwest of Kalgoorlie and was fairly shallow.

``People in Kalgoorlie would have experienced strong shaking.

``We would expect people up to several hundred kilometres away would have felt it.''

Minor damage and toppling of items from shelves would be expected, Mr Jepsen said.

``This is the largest event in the last 25 years in this region and it might be the largest since we started recording,'' he said.

The quake was significantly larger than the mining explosions that regularly rocked the towns, Mr Jepsen said.

Aftershocks would be of much lower magnitude and should be of no concern, he said.

Lifelong Goldfields resident and Kalgoorlie-Boulder mayor Ron Yuryevich described the quake as %u201Cthe biggest one I%u2019ve ever experienced%u201D.

He said many historic buildings had suffered structural damage, including the 104-year-old Town Hall, which had one of its walls shifted in the quake.

%u201CI%u2019ve just come back from having a look at Burt St, which is where the major damage has been done,%u201D he said.

%u201CFirefighters are putting out a house fire just down from Burt St as we speak.

%u201CAll of the hotels in the area have been damaged, and many of the facades have simply fallen off and crashed to the ground.

%u201CSome historical people I%u2019ve spoken to are most distraught because they can see some of these buildings may have come to the end of their life following this event.%u201D

He described the latest report from ambulance officers that only two people had suffered minor injuries as %u201Can excellent result%u201D.

He said FESA and the local government had implemented an emergency plan and had evacuated and secured dangerous areas in the town.



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When I pulled Firefox up today, it referenced that the java deployment toolkit plug in was a problem and disabled it. Not sure if that is related, but I have not viewed any of the symptoms that some have referenced.

From the Firefox site and the linked bug info from it.

Java Deployment Toolkit, versions 6.0.200.0 and older. Reason: security vulnerabilities (see bug 558584).

https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=558584
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We will be conducting a major test of the live hurricane webcam this coming Saturday starting at 1:00 PM Eastern Time.

There is a possibility that the test may be in conjunction with a tornado chase, weather and location permitting.

Otherwise, I'll have to find something else that is entertaining to watch.
Member Since: August 26, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 3752
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.


Actually that could be worse for the upcoming hurricane season.
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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.
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Good morning...

The sweet sound of the sonic BOOM!!! Welcome back !!!
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547. IKE
Quoting severstorm:

Morning Ike, Glad to see you got your rain. Now you can breath easier.I myself got .27 yesterday. All is good, have a great day.


Morning....yeah, I can breath easier:)
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Well, I see how you're gonna be this morning....lol
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I got first dibs on the rain, msg...I'll send ya any leftovers I get.
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I hear ya... How is everyone this morning? Hope all are well. Anyone with rain please send my way
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yeah I know, msgambler...I posted the wrong maps.

ah well...as long as they get home safely.
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morning Aqua Nasa has her coming in over MS
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Quoting Jeff9641:


Those are right!


maybe we both get BoomBoom?
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day 3 severe outlook
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 174 Comments: 54360
link to NASA tv Link

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I hope those are the right maps...
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Member Since: Posts: Comments:
I don't know if it's doing 237 or 238 de-orbit...gee I'm kinda dumb about these things

but we might get a boom boom
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shuttle in de-orbit

florida east coasters- cross your fingers and perk up your ears...maybe about 45 minutes?
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Picture from Apr 19th.
source: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/images/imagerecords/43000/43693/Iceland_TMO_2010109.jpg
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20. April 2010: Latest results from GPS stations around Eyjafjallajökull show deflation associated with the eruption. No movements associated with the Katla volcano are presently observed
source: Institute of Earth Science (with nice graphics) http://www2.norvol.hi.is/page/ies_Eyjafjallajokull_eruption

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Quoting IKE:
I had .99 inches of rain yesterday...needed rain...inland...Florida panhandle.

1001 hours...
11 minutes and it starts....

Morning Ike, Glad to see you got your rain. Now you can breath easier.I myself got .27 yesterday. All is good, have a great day.
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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.