Tests on Iceland volcano to aid forecasting: scientist

May 5, 2010
Iceland's Eyjafjoell volcano continues spewing ash and steam early on May 2, near Hvolsvöllur. Tests carried out during the recent eruption of an Icelandic volcano will allow experts to better forecast the effect on air travel caused by volcanic ash clouds, a scientist said Wednesday.

Tests carried out during the recent eruption of an Icelandic volcano will allow experts to better forecast the effect on air travel caused by volcanic ash clouds, a scientist said Wednesday.

But there must still be better cooperation with civil authorities to ensure that disruption to is kept to a minimum, German expert Ulrich Schumann said at a conference for geoscientists in Vienna.

"We are better prepared now than we were two weeks ago," Schumann, the director of the German Aerospace Centre, told journalists at the European Union congress. "We now have an alert system."

A cloud of ash from Iceland's Eyjafjoell volcano provoked widespread chaos last month, and on Wednesday a newly potent plume of debris again grounded flights in Britain and Ireland.

Schumann presented results from a test flight made at the weekend by German researchers, when they passed through the cloud around 500 kilometres (310 miles) away from Eyjafjoell to measure the amount of ash.

"The produces 3,000 kilogrammes (6,610 pounds) of ash per second and these remain suspended for seven hours after the eruption, according to low estimates," Schumann said, adding that there had been no measurements possible in the densest part of the cloud.

Researchers were then able to observe how the particles dispersed, he said.

"This data will allow us to calibrate forecast models in order to determine exactly the quantity of ash suspended in the air," Schumann said.

But he said that the forecasts had to be used alongside observations from various civilian agencies.

"Only the use of computer models, together with terrestrial, aerial and satellite observations can give an accurate picture of the situation," Schumann said.

Explore further: Scientists to evaluate Icelandic volcano eruption

Related Stories

New ash studies needed to 'limit air traffic chaos'

April 18, 2010

Better research models of how ash is dispersed would greatly reduce the air traffic havoc wreaked in Europe since an Icelandic volcano began spewing a giant cloud of the toxic dust last week, an expert said on Sunday.

Iceland ash emissions at 'insignificant' level: expert

April 21, 2010

Only an "insignificant" amount of ash is erupting from Iceland's Eyjafjoell volcano, one of the country's leading seismologists said Wednesday, as European skies finally began to clear, allowing air traffic to resume.

New ash risk closes British, Irish airspace

May 5, 2010

Britain and Ireland were closing parts of their airspace Wednesday after a fresh cloud of ash arrived from the Icelandic volcano that caused air travel chaos in Europe last month.

Recommended for you

New study sheds light on end of Snowball Earth period

August 24, 2015

The second ice age during the Cryogenian period was not followed by the sudden and chaotic melting-back of the ice as previously thought, but ended with regular advances and retreats of the ice, according to research published ...

Earth's mineralogy unique in the cosmos

August 26, 2015

New research from a team led by Carnegie's Robert Hazen predicts that Earth has more than 1,500 undiscovered minerals and that the exact mineral diversity of our planet is unique and could not be duplicated anywhere in the ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.