The spread of the ash cloud has attracted the attendion of many. Forcasts are made by the British Aviation Authority. Many are afraid that the Eyjafjallajökull story will be repeated and airspace will remain closed for a long time. The European Space Agency (ESA) has set up a model that graphically predicts the path of the ash cloud.
Although the Grímsvötn eruption is larger than the one in Eyjafjallajökull, it is unlikely to cause the same degree of disruption because the ash plume is being injected much higher into the atmosphere.
Ground-based radar measurements in Iceland indicate that the ash reached heights of 12–17 km and is initially moving towards northern Scandinavia.
As an expert in the remote sensing of volcanic plumes and the leader of ESA’s Support to Aviation for Volcanic Ash Avoidance project, Fred Prata from the Norwegian Institute for Air Research states, “It was initially an ash-rich eruption that was also very wet. A large amount of ash has fallen out, mostly in the proximity of Iceland.
“The volcano has also emitted a lot of sulphur dioxide that has been spreading north and northeast. Because this has been a high eruption there is less likelihood that it will affect continental and European aviation.
The animation shows the forecast positions of volcanic ash (total column in units of g/m2) from 20.00 GMT on 21 May to 06.00 on 27 May from the Grímsvötn volcanic eruption. The emission source varies in time and assumes a uniform height profile up to the reported plume heights measured by radar. It is also constrained by total fine ash mass determined by satellite.
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