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  • Ash Cloud Date Emerges
    Posted by Robert Wall 9:30 AM on Apr 12, 2011

    Scientific findings are in on last year's volcanic ash cloud crisis in Europe, and the results are mixed. Ash was present, but largely not at dangerous levels, it appears.

    Airlines complaining about regulators imposing flight restrictions during last year's outburst of the Icelandic
    Eyjafjalla volcano frequently pointed to non-scientific flight tests they conducted to show there was no ash.

    But the German aerspace center (DLR) says otherwise. But, importantly, DLR also finds that over Germany and the Netherlands, at least, ash cloud denisty was at levels considered safe.

    The finding is important because it could yield to new models that would help in another eruption of a volcano in Iceland. The data should help define models for satellite observation, but also how to employ test aircraft near a volcano quickly to assess what restrictions may or may not have to be put in place.

    At no point did the ash density cross the 2 milligram per cubic meter threshold regulators eventually set (there was no threshold at the outset). At its height, the ash density appears to have been at 0.2 milligrams, so well below the risk level. Even over Iceland, when the measurement was carrier out, the density was below threshold, at around 1 milligram per cubic meter.

    DLR used its Falcon 20E to collect the data.

    The volcano appears to have created ten megatons of ash and three megatons of sulfur dioxide.

    Tags: tw99, ash

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