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Iceland Volcano's Ash Grounds European Air Travel

timothy posted about 4 years ago | from the stubbornly-refuses-to-attend-climate-summit dept.

Transportation 283

Ch_Omega writes "From the article at CBSNews: 'An ash-spewing volcano in Iceland emptied the skies of aircraft across much of northern Europe on Thursday, grounding planes on a scale unseen since the 9/11 terror attacks. British air space shut down, silencing the trans-Atlantic hub of Heathrow and stranding tens of thousands of passengers around the world. Aviation officials said it was not clear when it would be safe enough to fly again and said it was the first time in living memory that an ash cloud had brought one of the world's most congested airspaces to a standstill.'" The BBC says "Safety group Eurocontrol said the problem could persist for 48 hours," and the Deccan Herald describes some of the effects on the ground in the volcano's home turf: "In Iceland, hundreds of people are fleeing rising floodwaters as the volcano under the glacier Eyjafjallajokull erupted yesterday again, for a second time in less than a month."

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283 comments

Nothing unusual (0)

sopssa (1498795) | about 4 years ago | (#31862802)

The ash cloud hit my city a few hours ago (Sweden). Other than the airports closed (and I don't understand why), nothing out of ordinary is going on. Sky a far away is a little bit more yellowish, nothing more. It also doesn't affect breathing as even normal street dust is more dangerous.

Re:Nothing unusual (4, Interesting)

cruelworld (21187) | about 4 years ago | (#31862852)

As watching endless episodes of Discovery channel would tell you ash has been responsible for plane crashes in the past. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Airways_Flight_9 [wikipedia.org]

Re:Nothing unusual (3, Informative)

malloc (30902) | about 4 years ago | (#31863090)

Not crashes, "just" 4-engine failures. All the cases I read about said once altitude was lowered the engines eventually started up again.

Having all your engines fail isn't minor, but it isn't on the same scale as an actual crash.

Re:Nothing unusual (4, Interesting)

Spliffster (755587) | about 4 years ago | (#31863500)

Well, I just had a beer with my little brother, a BA Pilot grounded here at our home in switzerland.

BA Flight 009 was special because it is the first such incident documented in a modern jet airliner. The pilots were pretty clouless when they suddenly saw funny flares through their front windows (cause by ash particles). "Somke" was reported from the cabin and after some time they piloted a very expensive glider plane (all 4 engines failed). The 747 has a glide angle of something about 1:15 which is very good for a heavy airliner. But with failing speed indicators it is quiet a challange to restart engines midair (windmill effect is used, they need to hold a certain speed before they can inject fuel and ignite it again).

I think these pilots back then did a tremendously good job if one takes into account that they had no fucking clue what was going on (today they have procedures for such situations, my brother showed me his checklist for such cases). And they had a lot of luck. The pilots lost height due to engine failure, decided to do a 180 turn and once the engines restarted (pretty low) they got into the ash cloud again and lost some engines again before they landed with reduced sight (sandpaper effect on the front window) and reduced IFR instrumentation at night.

Cheers,
-S

Re:Nothing unusual (1)

SpzToid (869795) | about 4 years ago | (#31864032)

Not only that, but if you read the wikipedia article about the flight, they were calculating clearance required to go above, or around high Indonesian mountains, as they descended steadily without power.

Re:Nothing unusual (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | about 4 years ago | (#31864106)

Ok, I know that geography is definitely not my longsuit (I do ok on Jeopardy for most everything else, but God help me if they ask where a river or a country is in general)...but is Iceland that close to the UK and the rest of Europe?!?!

I thought Iceland was up near the N. Pole roughly...how is it effecting the UK?

I'm looking for maps, but it doesn't seem to look that close...?

Ok..just found one map...I thought what is Greenland was Iceland...found Iceland which is east of Greenland..but still, doesn't look close enough to Europe in general to mess with it with volcanic ash?

A tallent for understatment. (3, Insightful)

LWATCDR (28044) | about 4 years ago | (#31863638)

"Having all your engines fail isn't minor, but it isn't on the same scale as an actual crash."

The amount of shear luck involved not to mention skill on the part of the pilots is just over the top.

Having a 747 loose all power and not crash is just short of proof of divine intervention.
Honestly that is probably the worst thing that could happen short of a crash and should be avoided at all costs.

Re:A tallent for understatment. (2, Informative)

profplump (309017) | about 4 years ago | (#31863776)

You know planes aren't held aloft by their engines, right? I mean, it can be hard to find an appropriate landing surface, and you certainly have less maneuvering capabilities, but a plane at 20,000' has a lot of potential energy, and a very efficient mechanism for converting that energy into stable, controllable flight.

If the wings fell off and you landed safely*, then I'd be impressed. But engines are no more necessary for safe flight than they are for safe driving -- you're better off with them, but it's hardly a death sentence to lose them.

*I am aware this has happened, and I am impressed, even if the guy was flying something more akin to a missile than a plane.

Re:A tallent for understatment. (1)

H0p313ss (811249) | about 4 years ago | (#31863942)

Flying a jet as a glider somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean is... shall we say... a less than ideal flight profile.

Anyone know of a successful mid-ocean un-powered jet landing?

Re:A tallent for understatment. (3, Insightful)

fm6 (162816) | about 4 years ago | (#31863984)

Oh please. Yes, you can glide a jetliner without engines, but it's not easy. As somebody already pointed out, the rate of descent is pretty nasty. Sometimes, very rarely, they get lucky and make it to a landing strip before they run out of altitude. Most of the time, they're not lucky [google.com] .

Speaking of understatements... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31864058)

I immediately came to think of this accident when I heard about the volcano and remembered this, which is also on wikipedia, the captain's announcement about the situation:


Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking. We have a small problem. All four engines have stopped. We are doing our damnedest to get them under control. I trust you are not in too much distress.

Re:Nothing unusual (2, Interesting)

master811 (874700) | about 4 years ago | (#31863166)

Did you even read the link you posted?, that flight never crashed, it just lost power to all 4 engines for about 15 mins, but they eventually started up again.

Re:Nothing unusual (3, Informative)

nemasu (1766860) | about 4 years ago | (#31862950)

They won't let planes fly near ash clouds as a safety measure. Reduces visibility, can wreck the windshield and probably the worst thing is that ash and jet engines don't get along. The reason it's getting so much attention is that there are many many flight paths that go near Iceland as it provides a shorter path between the two continents.

Re:Nothing unusual (2, Informative)

StrategicIrony (1183007) | about 4 years ago | (#31863640)

Uhm, I think it has more to do with the jetstream, which spreads the ash cloud over Britain.

It's not intercontinental flights that are shut down. It's ALL air traffic over northwest Europe.

Re:Nothing unusual (3, Informative)

atisss (1661313) | about 4 years ago | (#31864250)

can wreck the windshield and probably the worst thing is that ash and jet engines don't get along.

I'm not sure what's worse for pilots - broken windshield when they are facing huge blow of wind or no engines.. without engines you can at least sit in the cockpit.

The reason it's getting so much attention is that there are many many flight paths that go near Iceland as it provides a shorter path between the two continents.

Actually everything around Baltic sea is currently no-flight zone. You can check out http://www.flightradar24.com/ [flightradar24.com] to see that there's only single plane over northern part of Europe.

Re:Nothing unusual (5, Informative)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 4 years ago | (#31863018)

The trouble with ash and aircraft is that, at the high temperatures found in jet engine combustion chambers, ash turns into a delightful material extremely similar to molten glass(you also have the less immediately dramatic; but still annoying, problem of having the ash particles basically sandblasting the surface of the aircraft).

Best case scenario: some rather expensive repairs, including replacing scratched glass and engine parts(or even entire engines).

Worst case scenario: Fiery death.

Re:Nothing unusual (4, Informative)

Luckyo (1726890) | about 4 years ago | (#31863774)

This is actually untrue. Actual sand is not a problem for a modern jet engine - if you ever bothered to watch the A380 ads, one of the tests on the engine was when they fed a constant thick stream of fine sand into the intake of a running engine, and it was going just fine. It will certainly stress the engine, but it will keep running just fine for a very long time before sand starts to really wear out the internal mechanics to cause serious damage and shutdown.

Problem is that hot ash is actually not sand (which would not be able to stay that high in the air), but actual hot ash. As a result, as it goes through the engine, it coats the fuel feeding system and as it's rapidly cooled by compressed cold air pre-ignition, it becomes a glass-like material that blocks the fuel from getting into combustion chamber. This is what is causing the engine flameout. The reason why keeping the engine shut, putting plane into descent and keeping on trying to restart the engine is current modus operandi is because the glass-like substance that ash forms on the inside of the engine becomes very brittle when engine is being cooled by fast air stream going through it. As a result, when temperature drops below certain threshold, the normal vibration caused by drag and turbulence shatters the brittle mass, clearing the nozzles and allowing for fuel feeding to work again.

This is what happened in the 747 that lost all 4 of it's engines to flameout when flying through volcanic ash in the past. The report should be available to the general public, at least I recall reading it somewhere (though in finnish). In general, ash doesn't really scratch as much as stick to surfaces and solidify into dark glassy mass (which does in fact block the windows as well, meaning pilots would most likely have to land in instruments-only conditions in addition to handling engine flameouts).

Re:Nothing unusual (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | about 4 years ago | (#31864400)

Here's the anatomy of engine failure due to ash cloud:

1. Ash gets sucked into the engine
2. The ash melts due to the heat of combustion
3. The melted ash/combusted fuel now moves through the various turbine stages
4. As the gas/ash mixture cools, the ash sticks to the turbine blades and turns into glass
5. Engine Failure

The turbine blades in the front have been sandblasted, the turbine blades in the rear are coated in glass, and everything else has been subject to severely unbalanced operation.

Even if you can relight the engines, they will never be airworthy again.

Re:Nothing unusual (4, Informative)

itsdapead (734413) | about 4 years ago | (#31863116)

The ash cloud hit my city a few hours ago (Sweden). Other than the airports closed (and I don't understand why), nothing out of ordinary is going on.

Here in England you wouldn't know anything was happening. The dust is passing over at high altitude, so its only the planes that are affected. I'm sure we'd have had a very nice sunset if it hadn't been cloudy...

Re:Nothing unusual (1)

LordSnooty (853791) | about 4 years ago | (#31863244)

It's pretty clear now and I imagine astronomers across the country are rejoicing, not too cold either. With no planes it must be a beautiful view in the more remote places.

Re:Nothing unusual (2, Funny)

Amouth (879122) | about 4 years ago | (#31863634)

except for that whole high alt ash cloud.. that won't block out the stars any, nope

Re:Nothing unusual (1)

IrquiM (471313) | about 4 years ago | (#31864102)

Was just outside for a fag, and I can still see the big dipper right above me (Chelsea, London) but looking towards Heathrow, the clouds are gathering, and the colour doesn't look good!

Re:Nothing unusual (4, Interesting)

Brett Buck (811747) | about 4 years ago | (#31863220)

They closed the airports because the ash eats up jet engines, and can't easily be detected on radar. It's mostly silica and doesn't have a dielectric constant different enough from air to show up on most aircraft radar. So even if the cloud is thin enough on the ground to take off safely, you are relying on visual indications of the clouds thickening, and your visibility is poor so it's hard to see.

       

Re:Nothing unusual (3, Insightful)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | about 4 years ago | (#31863404)

The ash cloud hit my city a few hours ago (Sweden). Other than the airports closed (and I don't understand why), nothing out of ordinary is going on. Sky a far away is a little bit more yellowish, nothing more. It also doesn't affect breathing as even normal street dust is more dangerous.

I'm curious as to how you claim that normal street dust is more dangerous. What do you base this on? Volcanic ash is mostly silicates, and based on what happens when you inhale other silicates (Asbestos) I wouldn't be too keen on the substituting volcanic ash for road dust.

As for why they would close the airports. It is a highly abrasive substance, and is very fouling. Running aircraft through a volcanic cloud is like subjecting it to several years of wear all at once, and not the normal wear that an engineer would design for. You would be running through your engines a very fine abrasive compound and at the same time reducing the performance of your engines as you have displaced some of the air. It can clog your machinery very quickly, especially non-jet engines. (Imagine running a piston engine and adding a highly abrasive and clogging dust to the fuel-air mixture.)

Re:Nothing unusual (1)

plover (150551) | about 4 years ago | (#31864128)

I'm curious as to how you claim that normal street dust is more dangerous. What do you base this on? Volcanic ash is mostly silicates, and based on what happens when you inhale other silicates (Asbestos) I wouldn't be too keen on the substituting volcanic ash for road dust.

It is thought that asbestos is dangerous primarily due to the shape of the crystals. Broken asbestos fibers are essentially electron-microscopically sharp daggers that can slice into a living cell wall and cause the reproducing cell to make faulty copies of its DNA.

Silicates in general may not chemically cause cancer, certain physical structures of the crystals might be responsible. And I'm not saying that volcanic ash contains the "safe" kind or the "bad" kind of crystals. But I don't know that you can accurately make a blanket statement condemning all silicates just because asbestos is a problem.

On the other hand, given the choice I wouldn't want to suck in a lungful of volcanic ash, either.

Re:Nothing unusual (2, Informative)

PlusFiveTroll (754249) | about 4 years ago | (#31864388)

http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/silicacrystalline/index.html [osha.gov]

OSHA seems that exposure to silica in the crystalline form is bad stuff.

http://volcanoes.usgs.gov/ash/health/#chronic [usgs.gov]

Volcanoes, like the one in Iceland currently erupting release large amounts of the stuff.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yellowstone_Caldera#Volcanic_hazards [wikipedia.org]

Think of the air traffic delay if Yellowstone went off!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Huckleberry_Ridge_Tuff [wikipedia.org]

Damn you George Bush!!! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31862824)

This would not be happening if George Bush hadn't stolen the election from Al Gore!

Re:Damn you George Bush!!! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31862996)

no this wouldn't have happened if scandinavia had put its fags to death! praise the lored!

great name (5, Funny)

berashith (222128) | about 4 years ago | (#31862860)

My cat can type words like Eyjafjallajokull too.

Re:great name (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31862946)

I nearly used modpoints on that, but couldn't decide whether it's funny or a flamebait ;)

Re:great name (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31863008)

But can he pronounce it. It took me atleast a minute and several retakes. Still probably not even close :)

Re:great name (5, Informative)

Kjella (173770) | about 4 years ago | (#31863074)

It's not nearly as complicated as it seems, "fjalla" means mountain and "jokull" glacier so a native would read it more like "the glacier of the mountain Eyja" or "Eyja Mountain Glacier". But like the Scandinavian and German language they build one long word out of it.

Re:great name (5, Informative)

ibwolf (126465) | about 4 years ago | (#31863868)

It's not nearly as complicated as it seems, "fjalla" means mountain and "jokull" glacier so a native would read it more like "the glacier of the mountain Eyja" or "Eyja Mountain Glacier". But like the Scandinavian and German language they build one long word out of it.

It is even simpler than that as Eyja means island (err, since Iceland is spelled Island in Icelandic maybe that isn't a simplification). It is a reference to the nearby Vestmann Islands, that lie just off the coast from where the glacier is.

So Eyjafjallajökull -> Islands Mountain Glacier.

Could last a while (5, Insightful)

mick232 (1610795) | about 4 years ago | (#31862920)

The last eruption was in 1821 and lasted 2 years... you better get yourself some train tickets if you want to travel in Europe!

Re:Could last a while (2, Insightful)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | about 4 years ago | (#31863052)

heh, what's less "green", an erupting volcano for a few years or all the airplane pollution in the world for the same time?

Re:Could last a while (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31863312)

Ash in the atmosphere causes global cooling. Cue end-of-world ice age in 2012.

Re:Could last a while (3, Interesting)

FlyingBishop (1293238) | about 4 years ago | (#31863328)

http://www.thenakedscientists.com/HTML/content/questions/question/2008/ [thenakedscientists.com]

The volcano is roughly 100 times as green if we're talking about CO2 emissions, and 10 times as green if we're talking about SO2. Of course, that's assuming that given

Pv = the pollution output from this volcano over two years
Pvt = total pollution output by volcanoes.
Pe = European airplane pollution
Pht = total human-sourced pollution

Pe / Pht == Pv / Pvt

And there are some gaping flaws in that logic, but the point is volcanoes are fairly inconsequential as drivers of pollution.

Re:Could last a while (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31863426)

You forgot part of your equation. It looks like your number should be about x20.

You count ALL European human pollution then contrast it to 1 volcano. The original assertion is wrong but you are also being misleading. Not your fault the gp asked a leading question.

http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_is_the_number_of_active_volcanoes [answers.com]

Re:Could last a while (1)

dropadrop (1057046) | about 4 years ago | (#31863110)

Yup, somehow the two days sounds very optimistic... And I have tickets to go on a romantic vacation without the kids in 5 days time. Now I don't know if we can leave - or get back. I guess that's life.

Re:Could last a while (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31864262)

I misread that as "romantic vacation with the kids" and I was wondering what type of person would be romantic with baby goats

Trains are awsome! (1)

AnonymousClown (1788472) | about 4 years ago | (#31863636)

The last eruption was in 1821 and lasted 2 years... you better get yourself some train tickets if you want to travel in Europe!

Actually, volcano or no volcano, traveling Europe by train is the way to go.

Back when times were good for me, I went to Switzerland, left my luggage in the room, bought a rail pass, left really early, picked a train route, and stopped at every little town the train stopped - and had a beer when I could. Saw some beautiful scenery, pissed off a conductor (I couldn't tell the difference between first and second class! He knew to speak English to me too right off the bat- go figure.), and had the best time.

I just wish Amtrack wasn't the joke that it is. We could do the same here in the US.

The fkn Brits deserve this. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31862952)

The fucking Brits deserve this, i hope you chok on our ashes and as many airplanes as possible full of UK passengers will crash (due to the ash) into well populated areas.

UK used terrorist law against us, for this our motherland will bring you your well deserved terror.

Re:The fkn Brits deserve this. (2, Funny)

lordholm (649770) | about 4 years ago | (#31863172)

I live in the Netherlands, am Scandinavian and side with Iceland on this issue. Please avoid collateral damage on us expats.

Re:The fkn Brits deserve this. (0, Troll)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 4 years ago | (#31863392)

The Brits were assholes to do that; but you guys really need to grow a spine and lynch the (fairly small and well known) group of banking oligarchs who crashed your economy.

Iceland isn't a huge place; but you should have enough lampposts for the job.

bah! (0)

rainmouse (1784278) | about 4 years ago | (#31862962)

People are missing a day or two at most from their yuppie business flights or holidays in the sun and that is all that seems to be reported in the news. Boo hoo. It's not really comparable to the Icelandic farmers who are watching their crops and livestock wither and die as their entire lively hoods crumble before their very eyes. Which gets the headlines?

Re:bah! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31863066)

The one owning the newspaper, unfortunately.

Re:bah! (1)

CRCulver (715279) | about 4 years ago | (#31863542)

It's not really comparable to the Icelandic farmers who are watching their crops...

Iceland has no significant agriculture.

...and livestock

That's a bit more like it, but Iceland is a welfare state and they'll get by just fine. Meanwhile, the economy of the country as a whole is dependent on fishing, and that will be generally unaffected by this eruption.

Re:bah! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31863920)

Destruction of property is pretty bad in a welfare state, too. Remember, the economy can't make something out of nothing. Maybe the pain won't affect the individual farmers so direly in a welfare state, but it definitely will make not only the farmers, but the many many others connected to them worse off.

A welfare state has to be able to pay for the welfare somehow. See Greece.

Eyjafjallajokull (0, Redundant)

Wrexs0ul (515885) | about 4 years ago | (#31863034)

I feel sorry for those stranded and fleeing their homes, but also for those having to pronounce what I thought was either a seizure or keyboard failure: Eyjafjallajokull

-Matt

Re:Eyjafjallajokull (1)

StrategicIrony (1183007) | about 4 years ago | (#31863796)

It's a compound word which in the local language basically means "Eyja Mountain Glacier". Eyjamountainglacier.

There pronounce that. :-)

News for Nerds? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31863102)

Stuff that matters?

Re:News for Nerds? (1)

oji-sama (1151023) | about 4 years ago | (#31863452)

Having no air traffic in (several parts of) Europe is something that matters to quite many people (and perhaps some Americans as well[*]). I wonder if my parents-in-law will get back here on Saturday or if they are stranded in France. ^.^

[*] imagine something funny or apologetical here

Revenge for the Icelandic / English Bank Crisis (5, Funny)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about 4 years ago | (#31863178)

England and Iceland have been in a huff ever since a lot of English tax dodgers lost their fortunes in Icelandic banks that went tits up. The British have been threatening Iceland with everything, even including their major satire weapon weapon of mass destruction, "Viz" ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viz [wikipedia.org] )

The Icelandians have responded with volcanic gas.

Let's hope that this situation doesn't escalate.

Re:Revenge for the Icelandic / English Bank Crisis (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31863494)

Forget the banks, we have still not forgiven them for the fish
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cod_Wars

Re:Revenge for the Icelandic / English Bank Crisis (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31864182)

First, there will be a counterattack of dentist kidnappings, which the Icelanders will respond to by forcing England to repeat Islandic names three times quickly, during news reports. Ultimately, a blockade of all things Python will cause Iclanders to lose their sense of humour, and in a fit of SAD, sign over the rights to a bonnie hardwood forest in order to "bring back the worthwhile entertainment."

Re:Revenge for the Icelandic / English Bank Crisis (1)

IrquiM (471313) | about 4 years ago | (#31864208)

Yeah, I thought the same, so I got back at them by not going to iceland.co.uk during my lunch break!

Re:Revenge for the Icelandic / English Bank Crisis (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31864338)

Dear Iceland,

We said "send CASH".

Yours sincerely,
United Kingdom

The end is near? (0)

TexasTroy (1701144) | about 4 years ago | (#31863248)

Massive earthquakes, flooding, and now volcanoes. Maybe the world really is going to end in 2012.

Re:The end is near? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31863566)

Massive earthquakes, flooding, and now volcanoes. Maybe the world really is going to end in 2012.

Only in Texas

Re:The end is near? (1)

StillNeedMoreCoffee (123989) | about 4 years ago | (#31863954)

Quite possibly some major changes. Of not is the fact that the increased climate temperature means more mositure uptake in the atmosphere which means more rain and maybe more tornados and warmer seas mean more violent hurricanes. What I haven't heard is a calculation of the effect of a couple of degrees of warmth and the coeficient of thermal expansion of the earths surface rocks. Haven't we seen an uptick in earthquakes, it might also be a contributing factor in more volcanic activity and the rocks re-adjust to their new temperatures and bring more presures to bare on the molten rock below.

    renew your library card. At least you will have a place to entertain yourself when transportation is grounded an the electric grid fails.

Al Gore was right (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31863258)

Damn global warming.

Iceland is melting and everyone is running for their lives.

Re:Al Gore was right (0)

GrumblyStuff (870046) | about 4 years ago | (#31863326)

Yeah! I bet those stupid climatologists didn't even look for volcanoes under all of those shrinking glaciers!

Ash coverage (1)

Ced_Ex (789138) | about 4 years ago | (#31863276)

How much ash will this volcano produce, and how long will its effect affect commercial air travel in the EU?

It'll be interesting to see how society copes when all you can do is sit back and wait for mother nature.

Aha! (0, Offtopic)

pushing-robot (1037830) | about 4 years ago | (#31863424)

It's climate change! You can't deny it!
 
...Well, okay, you can deny that it's anthropogenic in the slightest, and you can deny that it's indicative of any long-term trend, but climate change totally happened in Eyjafjallajokull during the last four weeks. It's scientifically factified!

(ed.—this is a joke about the absurdly generic term "climate change". I'm not part of the AGW denial lobby^W crowd.)

Re:Aha! (2, Funny)

plover (150551) | about 4 years ago | (#31864204)

Re: your sig

If you learn of an Apple-Google-Nintendo merger, do not be troubled. For you are in Eyjafjallajokull, and are already dying of volcanic ash!

Holy crap (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31863432)

If I were named "Eyjafjallajokull," I'd erupt, too!

Damn those sons of Vikings (5, Funny)

Harold Halloway (1047486) | about 4 years ago | (#31863438)

First they fucked up our fishing, then they fucked up our economy, now they're fucking up our air. I say we INVADE these unpronounceable herring-botherers.

Re:Damn those sons of Vikings (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31864312)

YES! Let's send our plans over now to bomb them to oblivion, oh wait...

UK Folks - embrace and enjoy the experience! (1)

wowbagger (69688) | about 4 years ago | (#31863458)

To the folks over there, my advice is "Embrace and enjoy the experience".

I had a similar experience in the unhappy days immediately after 9-11: I had scheduled vacation time (fortunately, I was driving, not flying). It was an unusual experience seeing NO contrails in the sky (and being in Kansas I have a LOT of sky to look at!). While the cause of the event was horribly tragic, the result was interesting.

Moreover, there were several pieces of research on cloud formation and the effects of contrails on it that were conducted during those days.

So, to you in the UK fuming about your planes being grounded - take this time and marvel at the difference in your world (and be thankful the causative event has been relatively free from loss of life so far).

Optimistic view (1)

mybecq (131456) | about 4 years ago | (#31863482)

Optimistically, now's the best window of downtime they'll have in years to upgrade the air traffic control systems!

Iceland's Revenge (1)

Bysshe (1330263) | about 4 years ago | (#31863486)

For thousands of years, Icelanders worshiped giant mechanical penguins that lived in volcanoes. These penguins demanded sacrifice. First virgins, then whales, and eventually the penguins gained a taste for Euros. So Icelanders setup IceSave and the dupes from the UK and Netherlands started putting all their money in Iceland's banks.

Icelanders then took that money and tossed it in the volcano. All looks great but then the credit crisis strikes and the English and Dutch savers lose their money. They demand all that money back from Iceland to the tune of 13k per Icelandic citizen. [bbc.co.uk] Of course the Icelanders don't have this money and are outraged that they're asked to cover the greed of the English and Dutch so they sacrifice another virgin make the volcano blow up to prevent air travel

This keeps the European collection agencies away and prevent them from stealing all their remaining whales and virgins.

That's what happened.

Eurocontrol = Air traffic management (2, Informative)

Fjan11 (649654) | about 4 years ago | (#31863562)

"Safety group Eurocontrol"... Eurocontrol is the European air traffic management center.

Dear Iceland (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31863578)

We said "Send *cash*"!

Is it 12/21/2012 or 21/12/2012 already? (1)

fregare (923563) | about 4 years ago | (#31863614)

I just woke up, is it 2012? The end is near !!! I am putting my head up my ass. Always worked before !

iPad to the rescue! (2, Interesting)

jschen (1249578) | about 4 years ago | (#31863864)

According to a CNN article [cnn.com] , the prime minister of Norway is stranded as a result of the resulting travel chaos and "running the Norwegian government from the U.S. via his new iPad".

Brown condemns Iceland over terrorist volcanoes (4, Funny)

David Gerard (12369) | about 4 years ago | (#31863874)

ALING, Heathrow, Thursday (NTN) — Prime Minister Gordon Brown has condemned Iceland's terrorist attack on British air travel and their refusal to refund tourists' air tickets.

The UK government used anti-terrorism laws to freeze all British-held assets of Umhverfisráðuneyti, the Icelandic Ministry Against the Environment, after minister Kolbrún Halldórsdóttir threatened to further unleash the power of the Katla volcano in the wake of the devastation to school holidays caused by Eyjafjallajökull.

Thousands of confused and angry passengers wandered around Britain's becalmed airports today trying in vain to find out how long the disruption caused by the ash cloud might last. "Can't we just, you know, give the planes a try?" said Brenda Busybody, 54 (IQ), of East Cheam. "I wanted to go and rest on holiday, and Monday I'm back to doing nothing in the office. I pay my licence fee!"

The Prime Minister offered his outrage and sympathy, in lieu of money or anything useful. "This is fundamentally a problem with the Icelandic-registered El-stodth Thyonustah Voweld," said Mr Brown, attempting not to choke on his own tongue. "They have failed the people of Iceland and they have failed the people of Northern Europe! You pay my licence fee! Er, hold on ..."

Icelandic Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir also offered her sympathies to British travellers. "But, you know, we're still pretty upset about the cod."

Is "volcano monitoring" still considered bad? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31863892)

Hearing about the dangers of volcanic eruptions reminds me that just over a year ago Louisiana governor (and Republican party spokesperson) Bobby Jindal claimed that volcano monitoring is a horrible waste of taxpayer dollars.

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,500267,00.html
http://blogs.nature.com/news/thegreatbeyond/2009/02/volcano_monitoring_row_erupts.html
http://www.scientificamerican.com/blog/60-second-science/post.cfm?id=bobby-jindal-and-volcano-monitoring-2009-02-25

Dear Iceland (1)

Dunbal (464142) | about 4 years ago | (#31864124)

Dear Iceland,

Until you can name a volcano something that the rest of the world can actually pronounce, you will still be considered a terrorist nation. No amount of volcanic ash or glaciers melting (playing up to the global warming crowd) will excuse you.

In other news... (1)

snspdaarf (1314399) | about 4 years ago | (#31864440)

Police arrested an Icelandic man of Nigerian extraction after the flight he was on made an emergency landing when the man, who's name is not known at this time, attempted to cause the eruption of a small volcano hidden in his underpants. Experts say it is unlikely a thermal feature of this size could have brought down the plane, as the amount of magma would have have been too small to cause much damage.

Turning now to Hollywood entertainment....
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