Another general news article. Please stick to IT news.
Hundreds of passengers are likely to be stranded this morning as a volcanic ash plume has grounded flights across the country. The plume, from a volcano in Iceland, could take several days to clear. The ash can be thick enough to knock out jet engines. Currently Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow airports are closed and 90 per …
AC - I presume you are in the UK and not flying anywhere?
For those of us whom are neither of those things, the ability of websites to fall over in a slight breeze gives the Ash Cloud of Death(TM) on IT angle.
I now have an Ash Cloud of Death(TM) folder on my Mac with maps and hotel info for Philadelphia. Anyone got any tourist tips? Like, how much does a coin-operated laundrette cost in the US?
...it was filed under "Physics". You could maybe argue that it should have been filed under "Geology", "Meteorology" or even "Geography"...but that's it. It's deffo news, it's deffo important.
If you don't want to read the non-IT news, can I suggest you stay out of the non-IT areas or simply not click on them?
Is using your brain simply too much to ask?
I am sure Ms. Bee has contemplated finding me and slapping me on a few occasions; but I hope nothing I have said or done has been as vacuous and pointless as your derisive missive.
It's not like leaves on the line, it's more like ignoring the possibility of fallen trees on the line. But even deadlier. Do you want to risk being in a plane without any working engines?
A cloud of volcanic ash is not easily visible like a thundercloud, so the pilot can't just look out of the window and know whether under / over / around is possible. The best case forgetting it wrong is overheated and damaged engines that cost the airline huge amounts of money to repair (or scrap). The worst case is that the plane becomes a rather poor glider and has to ditch.
Read up about the BA jumbo that very nearly crashed when it flew into a cloud of volcanic ash that the pilots did not know was there. (A new erruption, and back in the days before there was a global monitoring network for this hazard). The engines were total write-off. That the plane managed to land was a near-miracle. At low altitude (over the ocean!) the plane had dropped into clean air and the pilots managed to re-start some engines and limp to the nearest airport.
It covers most of scotland, northern england and ireland, you plonker.
Volcanic ash is particularly dangerous to aircraft engines because of its size, shape and texture (its basically like taking a sandblaster to the engine only with sand that will strip metal in a matter of minutes) and has been responsible for a number of crashes and significantly more midair engine shutdowns. And those engines that do survive a clash with a volcanic ash cloud are likely to need months of overhaul to make them servicable again.
Seriously, safety has to come first in this instance, if you dont see that somethings wrong with you...
You can't fly over it, and the dense lower atmosphere would make it difficult and slow to fly under it, assuming you know its lower bound. More birds lower down as well, increasing other types of hazard. You can't see it on radar, so you wouldn't know for certain where it is.
The cloud is drifting down towards Europe, so the safe zone is shifting all the time.
On the bright side, if we can get enough volcanic dust into the atmosphere, it'll cool the Earth a bit and make all the global warming fanatics re-fudge their calculations.
Pilots are supposed to stick to flight paths (this includes the height ) to prevent them bumping into each other (doing that will really jack up your insurance as well as buggering up your day). At 350 MPH, you will travel the length of a football pitch between something coming into view and your brain realising it.
If they go too low, it will upset people on the ground with the noise (I also believe that it burns more fuel). There is a limit to how high they can go with the standard engines, as the higher you go, the lower the air pressure which could cause engines to cut out.
It always sounds like someone is being over protective, until the first aircraft slams into the ground at high speed, leaving a large hole. Then everyone starts screaming about businesses putting "profits before safety".
"...but can't they just fly over/under or around it?"
The Ash cloud is between 6,000m ~11,000m.
A commercial airliner has a cruising altitude of 12,000m.
That's great I hear you scream, we can fly over it!
Except you have to go from 0m-12,000m to get there which takes you right through the cloud.
And as for going around it, have a look at the pictures on the VAAC site http://metoffice.com/aviation/vaac/data/VAG_1271250039.png and suggest what alternate route you would take.
Probably not Thor.
The Greeks had a god of volcanoes, Hephaestus by name.
There doesn't appear to be a god of volcahoes in the Norse pantheon, nor even a god of fire. Perhaps they sub-contracted the work (which might explain a lot). As might Loki's involvement.
(And/or read Gaiman's "American Gods")
Bearing in mind the miserable state of the Icelandic climate, I doubt there was much need for a god of fire. Icelandic folklore tends to associate volcanoes with underground fire giants. Surtr, leader of the jötunn who help bring about the end of the World would be a good bet for any writs. Surtsey, the island created in a 1963 is named after him.
At least for BA - YMMV if booked with (e.g.) LyanAir:
"Customers booked to travel on a cancelled flight can claim a full refund or [...] If you wish to travel to your original destination, you may re-book on another British Airways or BA franchise flight at your convenience, subject to availability."
In any case additional costs would be covered by insurance - you do have travel insurance, don't you?
Guess this is Iceland's answer to the recent pressure from UK and NL to PAY BACK THE DAMN MONEY THEY OWE US - they've recruited Mother Nature to exert some pressure and 'persuade' us to back off.
To quote Jack Straw; "We do not, have not, and will not respond to blackmail or intimidation tactics". Hear that, Mother N? Now go tell your boss to get on the wire transfer sharpish, there's a good henchwoman.
For two reasons - 1 it will do a damn good job of stripping the propellors, and 2 - Props still make use of turbines in order to power the prop, the air being sucked into the turbines will still be laden with volcanic ash and will still go about destroying the internals.
Id almost guess that props are even more endangered because the ash will probably do a fine job on the props bearings too. But thats speculation.
The only way i can think prpos might be ok is if they flew below the ash cloud but the problem with ash is that its bloody hard to see the cloud in the first place until you fly into it (its not like a regular cloud), so it might be risky to try...
Mother nature in Iceland is a hellish bitch. One should hope that she stays asleep during our lifetimes (this erruption is the merest twitch).
1783: 20% of the Icelandic population killed. 20,000 killed in the UK (which back then had a population of a few million). Major climatological consequences in both Europe and the USA.
>>1783: 20% of the Icelandic population killed. 20,000 killed in the UK
I did a quick Google and couldn't find any such figures in respect of the UK, at least.
If you are referring to the indirect consequences, due to crop failures and subsequent food supply problems, you are probably making an implicit, invalid comparison. Today, the price of food might rise as a result of such an eruption; but it almost certainly would not become significantly scarcer - in the UK, at least.
The reference is linked in my post - the wiki one about Laki.
It's an estimate of the number killed immediately by SO2 and HF inhalation. The following year was the "Year without a summer", and the widespread famine claimed many more. It's not certain that Laki was the sole cause thereof, but it can't have helped.
Whilst there is no doubt that the Laki eruption had a catastrophic effect on human, animal and plant life in Iceland; the Grattan paper is controversial. There are very wide differences in the estimates of sulfur produced by Laki which would affect how much damage it could have done. Also because the summer of 1783 was freakishly hot and that would have pushed mortality well above trend.
It is a fascinating paper though and well worth a read.
Wouldn't be uncommon for an Icelandic eruption, but the plume is a short term phenomenon as the gassy magma at the top of the chamber reaches the surface. Assuming the eruption continues for any length of time, the volcano will become much less explosive and become dominated by large-scale lava flows.
It's certainly going to bugger for travel and tourism around Southern Iceland even if there isn't a jökulhlaup (glacier burst). Eyjafjallajokull is right next to the main road into the gorgeous national park and forest of Þórsmörk.
Still, according to the latest seismic data, Katla under the much larger Mýrdalsjökull ice sheet hasn't started waking up. The last time it erupted in 1918, the jökulhlaup extended the Mýrdalssandur coastline by 5km and the ash poisoned animals in Northern Ireland.
... suggest going to Reykjavijk with colossal cigars, and littering their streets with ash.
See how they like it!
Actually, I'm realistic about it. It's a natural phenomenon. A royal pain in the bum, but nothing can really be done about it. Even if it does fuck up my weekend plans to pop back to Blighty.
/needs 'meh' icon
If this Volcanic ash cloud is covering northern england , why can't I see it? What is going on that they don't want anyone leaving or entering the UK between 12.00 to 18.00 (very convenient timings for a cloud)?
the real question is are Black Helicopters grounded by Volcanic ash
To all of you whining about them needing to 'give us back our money' - well, the reason its 'gone' is because they lent it back to mugs in the UK to buy overpriced houses.
The real question of where the money is, is who downsized - or sold up and got out. They are the ones with 'our' money.
... or I think you can. The blue sky outside my window is a very pale milky blue, not the usual sky blue. Something is scattering more light than usual. Sunset may be quite something, if the real (wet) clouds stay away.
It's a very thin cloud, but what it's made of is highly abrasive. You really don't want a jet engine chew on a hundred miles' worth of it.
I was supposed to fly out of Gatwick before 6am this morning. About half a dozen Easyjet flights were cancelled, including mine. Two Easyjet flights (Amsterdam and Innsbruck) went out after mine should have. Several more followed, according to the flight checker, but the majority didn't.
The Ash Cloud Of Doom (TM) was, at the time, hovering somewhere over northern Scotland and in no way a threat to Gatwick flights heading south. So why cancel flights? Clearly there's no safety issue if others are going.
I suspect, it might've left aircraft stranded elsewhere this afternoon and that would've caused them more trouble than flying their paying passengers where they wanted to go....
I'm going to have to watch the film again because I don't remember that, but I do think I remember the strain in question was a crystalline entity (long before the TNG one) and 440 Hz is a nice frequency, usually A on the western concert tuning. Actually my main memory of the film is the laser targetting system in the access shaft. Ah, old-skool cgi.
At last, a more realsitic danger than that dreamed up by anti-aircraft teams who nick drinks from passengers.
However, the eruption at Monserrat lasted over a year - I cant imagine even the most rabid control freak being allowed to ground all flights for that long.
Sorry, couldn't find a no-drinks icon, beer will have to do.
I note Harriers and air ambulances have also been grounded even though neither has any reason to go so high as the Deadly Ash[tm]. As always ignorant caution leads the way. No-one will take responsibility for saying "it'll be OK", the only arse-covering strategy is to say "ooo no, we can't take a tiny risk from the helicopter going up, we'll let people die for certain in remote car crashes instead". A sad day in this so risk-averse culture.
The funny thing is that a helicopter can actually still land safely in the case of engine failure.
No volcano icon on el Reg? Black heli icon is too obvious, so ...
Iceland hands Europe free HAASH (High Altitude ASH)
Iceland strikes back and bankrupts the European air industry
UK in lockdown mode to force population to vote for further oppression...
Greens win at Heathrow with newly emposed no-fly zone, went direct to god/GIA successfully bypassed lawcourts and fail.gov.uk
Doomsayers declare end of days now arrived
Worlds Media finally has a MAJOR news event where no-one dies!!!
Ferry companies stocks surge on news of massive increase of cross channel traffic demands.
Network Rail declares new excuses of 'wrong kind of air' and ash on the line (coming after Monkey on the line this week)
Green Party expected to win next election
BAA to go into liquidation, diversifies into scrap metal merchants, Housing estates and sea ports as only option to survive.
North declared to really be really Grim for forseable future...
Massive surge of new employment across UK in car wash franchises, though all jobs taken up by foreign non-eu workers operating in grey market, uk.gov declares it a sucess for small business in bad climate.
Volcano erupts in Iceland.
Jets grounded across Europe and US.
This has happened before and it's surprising that there is no contingency plan in place for this. My gut feeling is some kind of spraying from above the cloud level to encourage the dust to aggregate and fall.
"My gut feeling is some kind of spraying from above the cloud level to encourage the dust to aggregate and fall"
You did mean to use a joke icon for this didn't you ?
That ash cloud is covering ~~300000 sq. km even at 1 litre/m^2 that's 3 billion tonnes of water most of which would freeze or evaporate at 4000m
Or are they supposed to be hovering over the volcano?
You can see mother nature has a wicked sense of humour. We fret about global warming and she shits a loud of cooling ash into the air. I say we get our own back: Don't be Green, go Brown. No more recycling, no more insulation, accelerate all vehicles at high speed, no more wind farms/PV cells/bioreguritators. More flying!! (TBA)
Oh good! Twister is on the TV. At least its not that drivel, Dante's Peak with Pierce Brosnan.
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