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April 16, 2010

Iceland volcano's ash plume seen from space

Eyjafjallajokull ash plume 

The ash plume from the unpronounceable Eyjafjallajokull volcano (above, in AP Photo by Brynjar Gaudi) continues to drift across parts of Britain and Northern Europe today. The gritty, abrasive dust can damage aircraft engines and literally grind them to a halt, so the events in Iceland have been canceling airline flights across much of the continent.

Eyjafyallajokull volcanoThere are lots of fascinating images of the volcano and the ash plume on the Web. The best, I think, are the ones taken from the ground, or from aircraft flying upwind of the volcano, like the one above, and at left, by Fior Kjartannson (AFP/Getty Images).

But there have been many shots taken by orbiting satellites, including NASA's Aqua and Terras Earth Observing satellites. Here is a pair showing the huge steam plume that was sent up Wednesday as the volcano, erupting under a glacier, melted and boiled the glacier's ice.

The Aqua satellite, on Thursday, captured an image showing the brownish ash drifting downwind with the white clouds off the North Atlantic. Here is another.   

As spectacular as it is, the eruption does not yet appear big enough to cause regional or global effects on the amount of sunlight reaching the surface, with significant changes in the Earth's temperature.

Such things are possible. The eruption of Mt. Pinatubo, in the Philippines in 1991 had a chilling effect on global temperatures (about 0.7 degree F globally) and caused gaudy sunsets around the world. Eruption of the Tambora volcano in Indonesia in 1815 caused catastrophic changes in the world's weather cycles, leading to what was called "The Year Without a Summer" in Europe and North America in 1816.

Posted by Frank Roylance at 10:34 AM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Phenomena


The ash plume from the unpronounceable Eyjafjallajokull volcano

That literally made me LOL! The Nordic languages always throw me for a loop. Thanks for the humor!

ack. thats frekay man

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About Frank Roylance
This site is the Maryland Weather archive. The current Maryland Weather blog can be found here.
Frank Roylance is a reporter for The Baltimore Sun. He came to Baltimore from New Bedford, Mass. in 1980 to join the old Evening Sun. He moved to the morning Sun when the papers merged in 1992, and has spent most of his time since covering science, including astronomy and the weather. One of The Baltimore Sun's first online Web logs, the Weather Blog debuted in October 2004. In June 2006 Frank also began writing comments on local weather and stargazing for The Baltimore Sun's print Weather Page. Frank also answers readers’ weather queries for the newspaper and the blog. Frank Roylance retired in October 2011. Maryland Weather is now being updated by members of The Baltimore Sun staff

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