What risks does an Icelandic volcanic eruption pose to global air travel?


It’s arduous to imagine, however the eruptions from Eyjafjallajokul that brought on chaos for air travellers have been practically 14 years in the past.

Nevertheless, volcanic exercise from the identical area is making headlines once more, however would an eruption in Iceland convey world journey to a halt?

If an eruption occurs there are two eventualities, an eruption on land or underneath the ocean. Every with completely different potential outcomes for world travellers.

Journey Weekly spoke to Birta Líf Kristinsdóttir, a former pilot and Climate forecaster on the Icelandic Met Workplace.

If an eruption have been to occur on land, there can be a “small lava eruption which is able to almost definitely not have an effect on aviation in any vital approach as a consequence of lack of an ash cloud,” she mentioned.

“Because of groundwater within the space it’s attainable that at the beginning there can be short-lived explosive exercise with minor quantities of ash which may attain as much as 1-3 km.

“In our preliminary response we’d subject a SIGMET that reaches 18.000 FT (about 5,5 km). When confirmed that there is no such thing as a ash within the environment we’d cancel that SIGMET and never warn for something within the environment,” Kristinsdóttir mentioned.

A SIGMET is an advisory to pilots and aviators of serious (SIG) meteorological (MET) hazards.

“One other attainable impact is a SO2 (Sulfur dioxide) cloud that would type.

“In earlier eruptions on the peninsula pilots have refused to fly by way of that type of cloud however have been in a position to take a unique path to the airport. There may be nothing to point that process would change,” she mentioned.

The hazards can be very completely different ought to the eruption occur underneath the ocean, a situation that’s thought-about to be much less seemingly in the intervening time.

“An explosive eruption will occur with an ash cloud that would presumably attain as much as 49.000 FT (that quantity relies on a earlier explosive eruption on the peninsula in 1226).

“If that occurs we’ll subject a SIGMET initially solely figuring out the place of eruption and shortly thereafter we’ll subject a second SIGMET figuring out the place the ash is spreading. This sort of situation might have an effect on aviation in a broader sense, together with Europe,” she mentioned.

Kristinsdóttir was fast to level out that this isn’t thought-about the almost definitely situation.

“The preliminary response for aviation authorities to a volcanic ash SIGMET is to declare a hazard space in a 120 nautical mile circle across the eruption and no clearance for any air visitors is given into that zone till an estimation of the ash cloud has been made.

“The distinction from now and Eyjafjallajökull is that the duty to fly into an space of forecasted or reported volcanic ash is now within the palms of the airways against beforehand being within the palms of aviation authorities that didn’t give any clearances into that space,” she mentioned.



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