Eyjafjallajokull has recently erupted; this volcanic eruption which happened in Iceland is potentially very dangerous to flights taking place in Northern Europe. Eyjafjallajokull is located on the boundary of the North American plate and Eurasian plate. Eyjafjallajokull is 1600 metres above sea level with ice at its tip. There have been two known eruptions since the time of settlement (874 A.D). The most recent eruption was a relatively small one that happened sometime between 1821 and 1823. Sturkell (2003). This type of volcanism is associated with plate hypothesis volcanism. The resulting ash cloud has a 58% concentration of silica which is potentially abrasive to jet engines. The ash cloud has erupted to heights of 30000 feet and the wind direction over the next two days has been predicted to stem from a west/north westerly position. As the U.K is located to the south west of Iceland this is obviously concerning. My task is to analyse atmospheric maps to predict and plot the likely path of the ash cloud. Following this, the data collected will be used to write a report for U.K’s air traffic control service (NATS) showing the levels of risk and areas of air space that are likely to have to be closed until the volcanic dust has travelled a safe distance away from these areas. The Met Office has produced 4 different surface pressure forecast maps, one that is the present time and the three others 12, 24 and 36 hours in the future. These four maps along with my prior knowledge of atmospheric circulation are the tools that will be used to predict future movements of the ash cloud.
The above image displays the current situation in Iceland. The ash cloud is heading in a South/ South Easterly direction which is compliant with a depression as this is an anti-clockwise direction.
T + 0 (present time) - surface pressure forecast for the North Atlantic
The above image shows that Iceland is surrounded...