Volcanic Ash Guidance ceases from Met Office as Iceland Volcano remains ‘paused’

29 05 2011

Latest information received from the Icelandic Meteorological Office indicate that the volcanic activity in Iceland has paused.

As a result of this lower activity, UK airspace is not expected to be affected by any further ash cloud and the Met Office will no longer issue Volcanic Ash Guidance from the VAAC.

Volcanologists and Geologists term this quieter spell of volcanic activity as a “paused” phase. However, it is typical for a volcano like this to have several “pauses” as part of its overall eruption phase. Only when the volcano has been “paused” for three months will it then be regarded as being dormant.

Although no ash cloud is being emitted at the moment, while any volcanic activity continues the Met Office will continue to monitor the situation.





Met Office in the Media: 26th May 2011

26 05 2011

Our scientists and forecasters have been at the centre of providing advice to the aviation, industry and government over the last week in support of the eruption of the Grimsvotn eruption in Iceland this week. Following ash across the UK we continue to see an improving picture as we head toward the Bank Holiday weekend.

This was covered on the BBC Ten O’Clock News last night as flights resumed across the UK, highlighting the latest ash cloud forecast outlook charts.  The Daily Express and The Sun have also both reported on the clearance of ash.  The Daily Mail reported that ‘Half term is on again‘ after yesterday reporting that there was likely to be widespread disruption into the weekend.  However we had previously made it very clear that beyond 24 hours the situation becomes more uncertain as it is difficult for the Iceland Meteorological Office to know how the volcano will behave. Weather patterns also become more variable leading to a dynamic situation. Both these facts mean that longer range charts  have less confidence than short range output and this should be considered when they are used. Following the volcano stopping to erupt and more observational data being gathered on ash emitted at the beginning of the eruption, ash concentrations over the UK on Friday and into the weekend are likely to be at levels that, according to the CAA, are not prohibitive to flying safely.

Finally, Steve Connor in the Independent has written an article  ‘The real danger to air passengers is not the ash cloud – it’s these men’. The article looks at the danger volcanic ash poses to aircraft and the work of the CAA and Met Office in ensuring that airlines can operate safely, highlighting the ‘ plethora of scientific instruments, from optical sensing machines on the ground to satellites in space’ used to identify whereabouts of the ash.





Grímsvötn ash cloud – better news for the Bank Holiday

25 05 2011

Latest information received from the Icelandic Meteorological Office (IMO) indicates that the Grímsvötn volcano is no longer emitting ash, and only minor steam plumes from the crater up to around 300 metres. According to the British Geological Survey (BGS), the volcano is still active with on-going low level seismic activity reported, even though this has decreased.

Our advice for today is that the ash has now moved away from the UK toward the continent. Further ahead, Met Office latest volcanic ash cloud advice is that we continue to be in an improving situation and it seems likely that there will only be minimal ash over the UK and Europeas we enter the Bank Holiday weekend. CAA and NATS together with the individual airlines can advise how this improving picture will affect flights.

The movement of the ash cloud will depend on whether we see any further volcanic eruptions and how weather patterns develop. The Met Office London VAAC continues to provide forecast guidance up to 24 hours ahead to support decision-making.

Met Office volcanic ash cloud advice is based on a combination of model output, satellite data and other information from radar, lidar and aircraft. Model information is validated using this observational data and is routinely modified to provide the best advice possible.





Grimsvötn Volcano Latest

25 05 2011

Latest information received from the Icelandic Meteorological Office (IMO) indicates that the Grimsvötn volcano is no longer emitting ash, only minor steam plumes from the crater up to 300 meters.

According to the British Geological Survey (BGS), the volcano is still active with on-going low level seismic activity reported, even though this has decreased. This means it is still possible that further ash emissions may occur at anytime.

As a result, the UK Met Office will continue to receive information from the IMO and BGS on whether the eruption may – or may not – continue.





Ash observations confirm Met Office ash forecasts

24 05 2011

The Grímsvötn volcano continues to eject ash according to latest information  from colleagues in the Iceland Met Office and British Geological Survey. As the Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre for the northwest Europe region, the Met Office uses this information to provide guidance on the movement of the ash plume.

Ash reports today across northern Scotland confirm Met Office ash forecasts issued on Monday.  Latest observations include:

  • Satellite and Lidar observations confirm the presence of ash over northern Britain in the last 24 hours.
  • A plane flying from Aberdeen to the Shetlands encountered volcanic ash during the flight with ash being deposited on the aircraft.
  • This morning ash deposits were found on a plane that had be flying in the Orkney area.
  • A plane flying from Stansted to Belfast observed a layer of ash to the north /northwest of the flight path.
  • A plane flying at a height of 18,000 feet in the Manchester area around 2pm today has observed a layer of ash of approximately 1000-2000 feet thick.
  • The research ship Discovery entered an area of thick volcanic ash on Monday between Scotland and Iceland with ash being deposited onboard.
  • Professional observers have reported ash being deposited in northern Britain.
  • Ash has been deposited on vehicles on Orkney.
  • Air quality sensors across Scotland have indicated an increased amount of ash particles (PM10s) during today and more information is available from the DEFRA website.

The movement of the ash plume will depend on how long the volcano continues to erupt and how weather patterns develop. The Met Office London Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC) continues to provide forecast guidance up to 24 hours ahead to support decision-making. This guidance is provided to the Civil Aviation Authority as the lead agency, NATS, airports and airline operators in order to support their decisions on whether aircraft can fly safely.

The ash is predicted to clear northern parts of the UK by early Wednesday. How this affects flight routing decisions would be determined by CAA and NATS together with the individual airlines. Met Office forecasts for the end of this week indicate mainly low levels of ash affecting parts of UK and Europe. This forecast does depend on the status of the Volcano since the wind direction and strength will remain variable. You should stay up to date with the latest advice from the Met Office. How this affects flight routing decisions would be determined by CAA and NATS together with the individual airlines.





‘Significant eruption’ of Grimsvotn likely to bring ash to UK

23 05 2011

The British Geological Survey (BGS) have described the eruption of Grimsvötn that began over the weekend as ‘a significant eruption’ and the IMO have reported ash continuing to be ejected to a height of 10km.

As the Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre for the northwest Europe region the Met Office is receiving information from colleagues in the Icelandic Meteorological Office (IMO) and the British Geological Survey (BGS) to monitor the eruption. The Met Office uses this to provide guidance on the movement of the ash plume.

The movement of the ash plume will depend on how long the volcano continues to erupt and how weather patterns develop.  The Met Office London Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC) continues to provide forecast guidance up to 24 hours ahead to support decision making.  This guidance is provided to the CAA as the lead agency, NATS, airport and airline operators in order to support them in decisions on whether aircraft can fly safely.

Currently the Met Office forecasts that ash is likely to reach parts of northern and western Scotland overnight tonight and into tomorrow morning. How this affects flight routing decisions would be determined by CAA and NATS together with the individual airlines.

Further ahead, the outlook is very changeable with areas of low pressure likely to track across parts of northern Britain during the remainder of the week.  The means that wind direction is likely to be quite variable and you should stay up to date with the latest advice from the Met Office.

The Met Office London VAAC uses a range of technologies to predict the movement of volcanic ash including computer models, satellite imagery and observations from Radar, Lidar and aircraft.

The Met Office dispersion model forecasts are routinely validated and verified against all available observations, such as from Satellite, Radar, Lidar and aircraft. For example, a weather balloon that can sample ash concentrations will be launched in western Scotland in the next 24 hours and we are working with airlines and others to undertake airborne measurements.

The Met Office is not responsible for decisions relating to UK airspace. Any enquiries relating to this shoul dbe passed to NATS or CAA.

The Met Office website has more information on where ash is predicted to be in the next 24 hours, recent observations and other Q&A.





Grimsvötn

4 11 2010

The Iceland Met Office has informed the Met Office of a Glacial Outburst in or around the Grimsvötn volcano on Iceland.

It is important to note that a Glacial Outburst is NOT an eruption, but is only potentially a pre-cursor to any activity.

Latest information from the Iceland Met Office is that there are no detectable signs of the beginning of a volcanic eruption at Grimsvötn.








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