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Volcano Eyjafjallajökull erupts in rural southern Iceland, homes evacuated and emergency declared

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  • Thanks so much!

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    • Factbox: Impact of volcanic ash cloud on Europe - http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE63F65A20100416

      (Reuters) - The volcanic ash cloud making much of northern Europe a no-fly zone has hurt the prices of airline stocks, paralyzed air cargo delivery and disrupted business and leisure travel.

      But analysts expect the overall economic impact to be minor, since the disruption appears unlikely to last continuously over a long period.

      HOW LONG WILL THE DISRUPTION LAST?

      This depends on how long the volcano under Iceland's Eyjafjallajokull glacier keeps erupting, whether it continues spewing ash, and whether winds carry the ash toward Europe.

      The volcano's previous eruption lasted over a year, but changes in wind and weather patterns could disperse the ash; many analysts think the cloud will not linger over Europe for more than a few days at a time.

      If the volcano does continue to erupt, occasional disruption will be possible over six months or more, experts say. Much will depend on whether Eyjafjallajokull triggers a new eruption from the nearby and larger Katla volcano, which has happened in the past. That could magnify the impact.

      Countries are proving able to resume flights quite quickly when local conditions improve. Ireland has reopened its airspace and Britain says some of its northern airspace may reopen later on Friday. But the cloud continues to drift south, affecting more countries.

      OVERALL ECONOMIC, MARKET IMPACT

      Unless the cloud disrupts flights continuously for weeks, threatening factories' supply chains, economists do not think it will significantly slow Europe's shaky recovery from recession or affect second-quarter gross domestic product figures.

      "The overall impact should be very limited even if the problem persists for a day or more...Just as people can't get into the UK, people can't get out," IHS Global Insight chief UK and European economist Howard Archer said in a research note.

      "So the people stranded in the UK will have to find places to stay and eat, so they will be spending money here rather than abroad."

      Business meetings have been canceled across Europe as a result of staff being unable to attend, but analysts say they will largely be replaced with teleconferences or rearranged.

      If extended disruption to air travel hits supply chains, factories will be able to reduce the damage by using sea, river or road cargo, or changing procurement plans.

      The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 stock index hit its highest level in nearly 19 months on Friday morning, suggesting little investor concern about the ash cloud. It fell 1.5 percent in the afternoon but traders mostly blamed Greece's debt crisis.

      IMPACT ON AIRLINES

      Around 17,000 flights were expected to be canceled on Friday, with airspace closed across much of Europe.

      Shares in Lufthansa, British Airways, Air Berlin, Air France-KLM, Iberia, Ryanair and SAS fell between 2 and 4 percent. Ryanair said it would cancel flights to and from northern European countries until 1200 GMT on Monday.

      The disruption is costing airlines more than $200 million a day, air industry body IATA estimated.

      Fraport AG, which operates Germany's main airport in Frankfurt, says its initial estimate was for the ash to cost it between 2.5 million and 3 million euros per day.

      Iceland's location means the eruption could prompt wider disruption to international flights.

      "Iceland sits right on one of the key routes between Europe and the USA and...depending on meteorological conditions it could also affect flights from Europe to Asia, so there are two big international flows which could be affected by this," said John Strickland, director of air transport consultancy JLS Consulting.

      "You can still get disruptions to other flights or have to take more circuitous routes, which adds costs and maybe even requires planes to land because they can't go on the direct route."

      ALTERNATIVE TRANSPORT

      Eurostar, which runs trains between London and the European continent, said trains were operating at full capacity and it might lay on additional trains if necessary.

      London taxi firm Addison Lee said it had taken requests for journeys to Paris, Milan, Zurich and Salzburg in Austria.

      AIR CARGO

      Grounded air cargo flights have halted delivery of items such as microchips, flowers and mail. Europe's largest mail and express delivery company Deutsche Post said it was switching to road transport where possible.

      Switching to sea cargo might be an option for longer deliveries, although not for perishables such as flowers, but shipping analysts said it would likely take at least several more days before firms started rebooking by sea.

      Pharmaceutical supplies in particular are often transported by air, but experts said there were sufficient stocks so there should be no serious shortages for now.

      ENERGY

      JBC Energy's model for European jet fuel consumption puts daily consumption at 1.17 million barrels a day, so assuming an estimated 80 percent of Europe's airports are shut for 48 hours, the disruption will cut 1.87 million barrels of demand.

      "Some demand will simply disappear -- those who need to fly will eventually fly, but there will definitely be some flights that just do not take place," said JBC Energy oil analyst David Wech.

      European jet fuel price spot differentials to the ICE-traded gas oil contract fell to $48 a metric ton on Friday from $50.50 on Thursday. But analysts said the long-term price impact would be minimal once flights resumed; much airline buying is done through long-term contracts.

      European oil, gas and electricity production is not expected to suffer. Some helicopter flights to and from oil rigs in the Norwegian Sea have resumed; the effect on solar power plants is unlikely to be greater than the impact from any other passing cloud, while wind power industry sources said cold volcanic dust on wind turbines should not cause any problems.

      INSURANCE IMPACT

      Airlines are expected to have little recourse to insurance firms. Most airlines are neither insured against cancellations nor business disruption at airports.

      Insurer Munich Re said it could offer cancellation insurance to airlines if necessary. "Up to now there has not been demand in the market, said a spokeswoman. "Maybe that will change now."

      HEALTH IMPACT

      The World Health Organization warns the dust could cause problems for those with breathing difficulties, though it has not yet assessed this particular eruption.

      A Scottish expert on respiratory disease told Reuters that the low-toxicity ash falling on Britain was unlikely to do much harm as a very high exposure would be needed to have much effect on people.

      CLIMATE, AGRICULTURAL IMPACT

      Scientists say the eruption does not seem to have produced enough dust or gas to alter the climate or impact agriculture, and should have no effect on global warming trends. A larger eruption from the Katla volcano might be a different matter.

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      • $1 billion turned to ash: Aviation loses big on Iceland volcano cloud

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        • Glaciologist: Katla only needs a nudge - http://www.icelandreview.com/iceland..._0_a_id=360895

          Picture: The volcano Katla is located underneath the Mýrdalsjökull icecap. Photo by Páll Stefánsson.


          Glaciologist Helgi Björnsson is concerned that the current volcanic eruption in Eyjafjallajökull glacier could cause the neighboring volcano Katla to erupt as well, which could have much more serious consequences.

          “The maximum flow in glacial bursts caused by Katla can be fifty or one hundred times more voluminous than what we have seen flow out of Gígjökull [an Eyjafjallajökull glacial tongue]. When the flood comes you better make a run for it,” Björnsson told mbl.is. Katla is hidden underneath the Mýrdalsjökull icecap.

          “There are eruption channels between Eyjafjallajökull and Katla and magma could shoot into the Katla volcano. Katla might only need a nudge,” Björnsson said.

          The glaciologist added that what we are witnessing now is a multiplex and unique spectacle of fire and ice. As the eruption in Eyjafjallajökull is still going strong, people should be aware that it might behave similarly as in the last eruption, in 1821.

          At that time the eruption began shortly before Christmas in 1821 and carried on for more than a year, until after New Year’s Eve 1823, Björnsson pointed out.

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          • Picture from the small village of Kirkjubæjarklaustur, Iceland:

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            • I find it morbid that this picture is both gorgeous, yet saddening.

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              • A million Britons stranded by ash and food shortages expected

                One million Britons were stranded abroad last night by the travel paralysis caused by volcanic ash.

                The unprecedented air lockdown was extended until at least 7am today but the chaos and confusion will drift well into next week.

                Some holidaymakers in Spain were told they face a ten-day wait for a flight home and the delays - coming at the end of the Easter holiday period - intensified problems caused by the massive Icelandic eruption.

                Schoolchildren, and their teachers, will be missing from classrooms on Monday, and Britain faces shortages of air-freighted food as the impact of the vast spume of ash begins to bite beyond air travel.

                Fruit and vegetables including lettuce, grapes, spring onions and asparagus may be missing from many supermarket shelves next week and firms specialising in flying in produce from overseas are also warning of higher prices.

                The transport giant Norbert Dentressangle said activity at its perishable air freight handling centre at Heathrow, the UK's largest, was at a standstill. The result will be a three-day shortfall in the supply of products including prepacked fruit salads and flowers.

                It said that while there are enough products on shelves and in warehouses to see stores through the weekend, supermarkets will be 'severely impacted' next week.


                Some desperate travellers were paying hundreds of pounds for taxis to bring them back via ferries from Ireland or to take them into Europe.

                Forecasters say there is no imminent change in the wind direction to blow the vast cloud away from Britain and large swathes of northern Europe.

                Day two of the chaos caused by the Mount Eyjafjallokull eruption saw the first reports of volcanic ash settling in the UK, as World Health Organisation officials suggested people consider wearing masks if they venture outside.

                And as Transport Secretary Lord Adonis told travellers to expect ' significant disruption' for at least 48 hours, the cost to airlines alone was put at an astonishing £200million a day.

                There was one chink of light when air traffic control company Nats lifted flight restrictions for much of Scotland and Northern Ireland. BA said it would operate 'a number of flights' from the U.S. into Scotland overnight.





                Read the rest here: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/arti...kdown-7am.html

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                • http://www.drudgereport.com/

                  This headline is something else "The day the Earth stood still". (That says it all for the time which we live in)

                  Comment


                  • Originally posted by stonewallfan View Post
                    http://www.drudgereport.com/

                    This headline is something else "The day the Earth stood still". (That says it all for the time which we live in)
                    Insane, huh?

                    Comment


                    • Looking at some of the posts above I can only think of how ill prepared we are for even a minor, historically speaking, event such as this one. What would we do if a truly big one happened? But we may find out if Katla goes off. What were the estimates for katla, ten to a hundred times worse than the current eruption if it goes off?

                      We are only a couple of days into this one and already they are talking food shortages. What made this possible? One answer is that we moved away from locally grown food and locally manufactured products. We now depend on some seriously huge conglomerates for produce and products from around the world. Disrupt that international flow for even as little as a week or two and people would be in trouble in many parts of the world. Disrupt it for a month and a lot more people would die. It could even be worse than a pandemic in the long run since it would directly affect many more people than a disease.

                      Comment


                      • Volcanic ash grounds flights across much of Europe - http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE63E1TM20100417

                        (Reuters) - A huge ash cloud from an Icelandic volcano spread out across Europe on Friday causing air travel chaos on a scale unseen since the September 11 attacks and costing airlines hundreds of millions of dollars.

                        The plume that floated through the upper atmosphere, where it could wreak havoc on jet engines and airframes, threw travel plans into disarray on both sides of the Atlantic.

                        Severe disruption of European air traffic was expected on Saturday because of the dangers posed by the volcanic ash, aviation officials said. Airports in much of Britain, France and Germany remained closed and flights were set to be grounded in Hungary and parts of Romania.

                        "I am furious and frustrated," said Sara Bicoccih, stranded at Frankfurt airport on her way home to Italy from Miami.

                        The U.S. military had to reroute many flights, including those evacuating the wounded from Afghanistan and Iraq, a Pentagon spokesman said.

                        "I would think Europe was probably experiencing its greatest disruption to air travel since 9/11," a spokesman for the Civil Aviation Authority, Britain's aviation regulator, said.

                        "In terms of closure of airspace, this is worse than after 9/11. The disruption is probably larger than anything we've probably seen."

                        Following the attacks on Washington and New York in 2001, U.S. airspace was closed for three days and European airlines were forced to halt all transatlantic services.

                        Disruption from the volcanic ash eruption in Iceland is costing airlines more than $200 million a day, air industry group the International Air Transport Association said.

                        But unless the cloud disrupts flights for weeks, threatening factories' supply chains, economists do not think it will significantly slow Europe's shaky recovery from recession or affect second-quarter gross domestic product figures.

                        "The overall impact should be very limited even if the problem persists for a day or more ... ," IHS Global Insight chief UK and European economist Howard Archer said.

                        Volcanologists say the ash could cause problems to air traffic for up to six months if the eruption continues. The financial impact on airlines could be significant.

                        The fallout hit airline shares on Friday with Lufthansa, British Airways, Air Berlin, Air France-KLM, Iberia and Ryanair down between 1.4 and 3.0 percent.

                        BA canceled all flights in and out of London on Saturday.

                        Irish airline Ryanair, Europe's biggest low-cost carrier, said it would cancel flights to and from northern European countries until 1200 GMT on Monday.

                        Aviation officials said airspace over England and Wales, Germany and northern France would remain closed at least through Saturday morning.

                        David Castelveter, a spokesman with the Air Transport Association of America trade group, said U.S. airlines had canceled at least 170 flights to and from Europe.

                        Delta Air Lines, the world's largest airline, canceled 75 flights between the United States and European Union on Friday and for Saturday, it has halted 35 flights from the EU to the United States, Delta spokesman Anthony Black said.

                        PLUME DRIFTING

                        Joe Sultana, head of network operations at European air control agency Eurocontrol, said the situation was unprecedented. Eurocontrol said it was up to each country when flights were resumed, based on whether there was clear air, which depended on wind direction.

                        Clear airspace that had been over Vienna and Geneva was closing, so they could be affected.

                        Mark Seltzer, a forecaster at Britain's Met Office, said that on Thursday the plume affected northern Scotland because of northwesterly winds at high levels.

                        "However, the winds have become, at upper levels, more westerly and that is steering it more into Scandinavia, taking it away from Scotland and Northern Ireland."

                        The volcano began erupting on Wednesday for the second time in a month from below the Eyjafjallajokull glacier, hurling a plume of ash 6 to 11 km (4 to 7 miles) into the atmosphere.

                        Officials said it was still spewing magma and although the eruption could abate in the coming days, ash would continue drifting into the skies of Europe.

                        Iceland's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said there was some damage to roads and barriers protecting farms.

                        "There is still an evacuation of around 20 farms, which is 40 to 50 people," she added, noting this was less than the 800 people who had been evacuated earlier this week.

                        MERKEL DIVERTED

                        Volcanic ash contains tiny particles of glass and pulverized rock that can damage engines and airframes.

                        In 1982, a British Airways jumbo jet lost power in all its engines when it flew into an ash cloud over Indonesia, gliding toward the ground before it was able to restart its engines.

                        The incident prompted the aviation industry to rethink the way it prepared for ash clouds.

                        In addition to travel problems, health officials warned that the volcanic ash could also prove harmful to those with breathing difficulties.

                        In Brussels, European aviation control officials said some 12,000 to 13,000 flights were likely to operate in European airspace on Friday, compared with about 29,500 normally. The ash was expected to spread further south and east.

                        German Chancellor Angela Merkel, returning from a trip to the United States, was diverted to Portugal and was expected to spend the night in Lisbon.

                        However, the Polish president's funeral looked set to go ahead on Sunday as planned, at his family's insistence, despite some world leaders being unable to fly in.

                        The air problems have proved a boon for other transport firms. All 58 Eurostar trains between Britain and Europe were operating full, carrying some 46,500 passengers, and a spokeswoman said they would consider adding more services.

                        London taxi firm Addison Lee said it had taken requests for journeys to Paris, Milan, Zurich and Salzburg in Austria.

                        Singer Whitney Houston took a ferry from Britain to Ireland for three concerts in Dublin after her flight was scratched.

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by yogi3939 View Post
                          Looking at some of the posts above I can only think of how ill prepared we are for even a minor, historically speaking, event such as this one. What would we do if a truly big one happened? But we may find out if Katla goes off. What were the estimates for katla, ten to a hundred times worse than the current eruption if it goes off?

                          We are only a couple of days into this one and already they are talking food shortages. What made this possible? One answer is that we moved away from locally grown food and locally manufactured products. We now depend on some seriously huge conglomerates for produce and products from around the world. Disrupt that international flow for even as little as a week or two and people would be in trouble in many parts of the world. Disrupt it for a month and a lot more people would die. I could even be worse than a pandemic in the long run since it would directly affect many more people than a disease.
                          This is too true. People depend on the government and trade and all that stuff way too much. Just like you said.

                          Pretty soon people are going to have to start depending on God. He's the only one in control and the world is going to go insane (especially since they continue to turn their backs on Him).

                          Comment


                          • Originally posted by Megan View Post
                            This is too true. People depend on the government and trade and all that stuff way too much. Just like you said.

                            Pretty soon people are going to have to start depending on God. He's the only one in control and the world is going to go insane (especially since they continue to turn their backs on Him).
                            Yes that was the point. The supply chain has gotten so huge and so far spread around the world that we do not have the capability to pick up the slack for any extended period of time on a local basis. It could take from six months to a year just to bring local farming up to speed for even subsistance level production of food. If something like the eruption of Katla, or worse, were to happen it would be difficult to transport food from one end of our country to the other. We would have to develop a food chain that extended no more than two or three states away from the consumers. With enough ash in the air even long distance trucking would be a problem. Rail distribution could extend that somewhat farther but they would still have trouble keeping the ash out of critical systems in the engines and control networks.

                            But those of us in the southeast could still eat kudzu. After all it is edible.

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                            • http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2010...erwoven-world/

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                              • A telling quote from the article.

                                Is it a first? The devastating 19th-century eruption of Indonesia's Krakatau island was bigger. In ancient times, Mount Vesuvius buried an entire city and in the 17th century, a series of eruptions from Peru to the South Pacific blocked the sun's energy and sent the Earth's temperatures plunging.

                                But in this era of global trade crisscrossing the planet by air, the Icelandic eruption has implications that underscore the particular vulnerabilities of the modern world.

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