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Satellites Keep Aircraft Away From Volcanic Cloud 109

Posted by timothy
from the hope-it's-not-opposite-day dept.
coondoggie writes "A range of satellites from a host of different nations are pumping out images and data on the Icelandic volcano currently wreaking havoc on commercial airline traffic and aviation in general. The European Space Agency today noted four major satellites that are monitoring the volcano that erupted this week under Iceland's Eyjafjallajoekull glacier. They include NASA's Aqua and Aura as well as the European Space Agency's Envisat and MetOp spacecraft. Other satellites such as NASA's Terra and NOAA's GOES satellite also provide images." Updated 20100416 01:17 GMT by timothy: Apropos that, 2Y9D57 writes with this "Image of the Icelandic volcano, Eyjafjallajökull, after it began erupting on 15 April. Acquired by the German TerraSAR-X synthetic aperture radar satellite from a height of about 500 kilometers / 300 miles."
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Satellites Keep Aircraft Away From Volcanic Cloud

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  • Pro editing (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    The four major satellites that are providing key information on the European Space Agency today noted four major satellites that are monitoring the volcano that erupted this week under Iceland's Eyjafjallajoekull glacier.

    Quality editing there timothy.

    • by Meshach (578918)
      At least the name of the glacier is spelled correctly. Eyjafjallajoekull [wikipedia.org] is quite a mouthful.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        At least the name of the glacier is spelled correctly. Eyjafjallajoekull [wikipedia.org] is quite a mouthful.

        Actually, the correct spelling appears to be: Eyjafjallajökull [wikipedia.org]. Wikipedia just points "Eyjafjallajoekull" to the correct page. I suggest the following spelling change: Ayayayfalafeljoe'sskull

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          Icelandic is such a beautiful language, and so conservative too. It's so close to Old Norse it's fascinating.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by h4rr4r (612664)

          Replacing an umlaut with vowel + e is the normal way to do it when printing for a language that lacks umlauts. I have to do this if I use my mother's maiden name for any services.

        • by Ux64 (1187075)
          Year 2010 and nobody's heard of Unicode? My last name is: Hämäläinen. I don't like to write it as Haemaelaeinen. Try saying that.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      apropos [ap-ruh-poh]
      –adverb
      1. fitting; at the right time; to the purpose; opportunely.

      • by SalaSSin (1414849)
        I'm guessing he tried "à propos" which, in french, means 'by the way", but of course is not the same thing as "apropos", as you clearly stated.
  • Really now (Score:1, Redundant)

    by Dynedain (141758)

    The four major satellites that are providing key information on the European Space Agency today noted four major satellites that are monitoring the volcano that erupted this week under Iceland's Eyjafjallajoekull glacier.

    Huh... the four major satellites are noting four major satellites? That's a bit of tautological recursion.

    • The four major satellites that are providing key information on the European Space Agency today noted four major satellites that are monitoring the volcano ...

      Perhaps the satellites are self-aware? Isn't this how Skynet got out of hand?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      That's a bit of tautological recursion.

      Don't blame /. This is exactly how it is written in TFA (I know, I know.. I must be new here etc).

      Although since the article author is Michael Cooney and the story was submitted by "coondoggie" I suspect they are one and the same.

    • Huh... the four major satellites are noting four major satellites? That's a bit of tautological recursion.

      "Stamp out redundancy and do away with it."

    • The four major satellites that are providing key information on the European Space Agency today noted four major satellites that are monitoring the volcano that erupted this week under Iceland's Eyjafjallajoekull glacier.

      Huh... the four major satellites are noting four major satellites? That's a bit of tautological recursion.

      Well, if you were a satellite, what would you rather monitor? Some boring old volcano or that sexy little number down the street? Why, her cowling's so small her gyroscopes are showing!

  • Ok seriously where does this name come from
    • by WrongSizeGlass (838941) on Friday April 16, 2010 @07:31PM (#31878800)

      Ok seriously where does this name come from

      "Eyjafjallajoekull" translates to: All your ash are belong to us

      • Ok seriously where does this name come from

        "Eyjafjallajoekull" translates to: All your ash are belong to us

        We have Summer and Winter Olympics, and we also have Mordor and Iceland. Long live duality!

      • by thewils (463314)

        Actually, given the situation, it's more like "All of my ash are now belong to you".

      • The last wish of the dying Icelandic financial system was to have it's ashes spread all over Europe.

        You're welcome.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Ok seriously where does this name come from

      It can be translated to "The Island mountains glacier"

      / AC because I can't be bothered to log in after working long hours due to said volcano :)

    • Re:Eya... what? (Score:5, Informative)

      by DMUTPeregrine (612791) on Friday April 16, 2010 @07:33PM (#31878824) Journal
      Eyjafjallajokull: Eyja - Island. Fjalla - Mountain. Jokull - Glaicer. Island-mountain-glaicer. Icelandic is an agglutinative language like German, so words get strung together to make bigger words.
      • by treeves (963993)
        So is this name/word a common noun or a proper noun? It's as if Mt. Shasta were called instead forest-lake-mountain, or some such thing.
      • Icelandic is an agglutinative language like German

        So, I hope that the Dieimmeislandlebendenorwegischevolkergruppentypen are performing Fehlerbehebungsmassnahmen, in order to cap that volcano.

        That second, really long word, actually popped up in my email once.

        . . . agglutinative . . .

        "Hmmm, agglutinative . . . my word for the day. "Schatz, I'm feeling at bit agglutinative. Let's stop and get something to eat."

      • Only German is not an agglutinative language. The grammatical affixes are in paradigmatic relationship.
        • by Neoprofin (871029)
          It's a very easy mistake to make, and given the large number of agglutinative characteristics in German it's not like he completely or even totally missed the boat.
  • Space program (Score:5, Insightful)

    by seifried (12921) on Friday April 16, 2010 @07:29PM (#31878782) Homepage
    The next time why someone asks why we should fund space exploration as opposed to simply spending money trying to feed starving people it might be good to point this out (along with weather prediction/mapping capabilities/etc.).
    • by T Murphy (1054674)
      Yeah, we don't want planes flying through volcanic clouds over Mars- I've heard the volcanoes there are huge!

      NB: I only mean this as a joke.
    • Re:Space program (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ZeBam.com (1790466) on Friday April 16, 2010 @08:02PM (#31879056) Homepage
      The objection is usually to manned space exploration, which oddly enough did not play a role here.
    • by houghi (78078)

      Space exploration is not the same as putting a satellite in space.

      • by seifried (12921)
        Uhhh. How do you think we first explored space? We sent probes (aka satellites) up there (Sputnik ring any bells?).
        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by gyrogeerloose (849181)

          Uhhh. How do you think we first explored space? We sent probes (aka satellites) up there (Sputnik ring any bells?).

          Did the original Sputnik actually probe anything? I thought it just was just a way for the USSR to demonstrate to the USA that it was capable of putting something into orbit and, by inference, put an ICBM on Eisenhower's front porch if it wanted to.

    • Volcano research (Score:3, Informative)

      by AlpineR (32307)

      I also remember some Congress person complaining about the government paying for volcano research. I think they were from Louisiana or Mississippi and they laughed at what a waste of money it is for their citizens to pay to study volcanoes. Don't we already know everything about them anyway?

      Well, sir, this is why. If a volcano blows, it affects more than its immediate neighbors.

  • by T Murphy (1054674) on Friday April 16, 2010 @07:32PM (#31878810) Journal
    Without these satellites, there would be no way to communicate where the cloud is:

    Pilot: So where is this eruption at?
    Control: I'm sorry, I've talked to the other three guys here and we don't have a clue how to pronounce the name of this glacier. I don't think we can help you. Good luck!
  • by sznupi (719324) on Friday April 16, 2010 @07:33PM (#31878820) Homepage

    Behold! Bow under the wrath of Loki, heretics! Renounce your faith from the far lands and return to truthfull ways of your ancestors!

    (Loki the trickster; those are just tricks, you haven't seen nothing yet...)

    • by catman (1412)
      ITYM Laki [wikipedia.org] whose wrath may have hastened the French revolution and caused the Mississippi to freeze at New Orleans.
      • by sznupi (719324)

        ITIM not a single volcano, but a deity which might be the closest to them in the only true mythology.

        • by catman (1412)
          Loki does seem to be the closest deity, yes. In fact, in one variety of modern Norwegian the word "loge" means "flame". And he is an unreliable trickster, too! Laki is/was in fact not a single volcano, but a long fiery crack in the ground - 130 craters in the 1783 eruption. Oh well - Iceland keeps growing, and Europe and North America keep drifting apart.
  • Raw feeds? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Hazee Daze (998624) on Friday April 16, 2010 @07:39PM (#31878872)

    So I guess the /. question is can we see their raw feeds?

    NASA Aqua
    NASA Aura
    NASA's Terra
    European Space Agency's Envisat
    European Space Agency's MetOp
    NOAA's GOES: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite
    - http://www.goes.noaa.gov/ [noaa.gov]
    - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NOAA [wikipedia.org]
    - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geostationary_Operational_Environmental_Satellite [wikipedia.org]

    Space research always pays for itself in the long term. The acronyms in the NOAA GOES got me interested.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 16, 2010 @07:42PM (#31878896)

    At what density is volcanic ash dangerous to aircraft turbines and what is the damage mechanism? On the satellite images, it looks like the air space south of Scotland was only peripherally affected by the plume coming from the volcano. I wonder if the widely dispersed ash is really that much of a problem.

  • by d474 (695126) on Friday April 16, 2010 @07:51PM (#31878976)

    Satellites Keep Aircraft Away From Volcanic Cloud

    I didn't realize satellites could fly so low, let alone herd airplanes like sheep. Amazing what they can do these days...

  • Eyjafjallajoekull - Looks like TECO [wikipedia.org] editor command.
    [Ah, those were the days...]
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Good news, everyone! It's not Iceland. It shows Svalbard (left) and Scandinavia (right). Look at the keymap (the globe icon on the left side). Actually, I'm not sure what your concern is. It's just a storm system. They're all over the place.

      This image shows Iceland [nasa.gov] (in the upper left corner). Another way to look at the Terra/MODIS images is via the daily Arctic mosaic [nasa.gov]. Iceland is the the bottom of the mosaic [nasa.gov], and then you can click on it and get a more detailed view [nasa.gov], where the ash plume is visible a

      • by symbolset (646467) on Friday April 16, 2010 @10:33PM (#31879936) Journal

        When this volcano blows a major Katla eruption follows soon after. Katla is about 10 miles East.

        This one shuts down half the air travel in western Europe for a few days. Katla shuts down summer. The farmers are not worried about this volcano [icelandreview.com]:

        "I am not afraid of this eruption but I fear Katla. It might not happen immediately but it will happen. Then we will be talking about much more power," Agnarsson said.

        It has to do with the type of plate tectonics here. The plates are pulling apart, yielding a very deep rift that releases very hot magma from very far down in the mantle, which is saturated with CO2 and when released goes very high, far, thick and long. Naturally this will melt a great deal of Iceland glacier very quickly, impacting the currents in the Atlantic.

        • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 17, 2010 @09:00AM (#31880944)

          "It has to do with the type of plate tectonics here. The plates are pulling apart, yielding a very deep rift that releases very hot magma from very far down in the mantle, which is saturated with CO2 and when released goes very high, far, thick and long. Naturally this will melt a great deal of Iceland glacier very quickly, impacting the currents in the Atlantic."

          This is true for all of the volcanoes in Iceland. They are related to the rifting that occurs along the mid-Atlantic Ridge, where the North American plate is stretching away from the Eurasian Plate. The magma comes up the cracks and eventually erupts onto the surface. CO2 has little or nothing to do with melting the glaciers. The heat of the lava at the vent does, and the contact with the water produces much of the explosiveness that eventually produces ash and lofts it into the atmosphere. The climatic effects are mainly from a combination of the ash particles and aerosols such as sulphur dioxide, and they are mostly cooling effects due to obscuring the Sun, however, Eyjafjallajokull is not a big enough eruption -- so far -- to have a significant climatic effect. Katla, by contrast, is a much larger volcanic center and has historically had much bigger eruptions, hence the worry if that one blows too. The effect on Atlantic ocean water is negligible except around Iceland itself.

          There are plenty of the more technical details at the Nordic Volcanological Center [norvol.hi.is] site, including a link to this paper [norvol.hi.is] [PDF] that has ample detail about these two volcanoes and their historical and more modern behaviour. It isn't cause for optimism. The key phrase from the introduction is that eruptions at Katla [wikipedia.org] have been up to 2km3 in volume, whereas those at Eyjafjallajokull "have been negligible in historic times and range in the 0.1km3 scale. This is a "small" eruption. Really. Even with that "negligible" volume, the most recent eruption lasted from 1821 to 1823, and was with Katla erupting simultaneously. These eruptions have sometimes A) lasted for many months or years, and B) been much, much larger if Katla erupts too. Not to mention the local effects such as even bigger jokulhlaups [wikipedia.org] than have been triggered so far, and for some eruptions (e.g., Laki [wikipedia.org] in the 1700s), release of toxic gasses such as HF too. Sometimes the eruptions are no big deal, and they wane and stop over a few weeks. Sometimes they are nasty and prolonged. It isn't clear what this one will do, but if there are signs that Katla is going to join in ... be prepared for something much more awful.

          • by RockDoctor (15477)

            Nicely written for an AC.
            Only one significant alteration :

            Katla, by contrast, is a much larger volcanic center and has historically had much bigger eruptions, hence the worry if that one blows too.

            "WHEN" it blows, not "IF".
            Another eruption of Katla is a racing certainty ; when it happens is much more open to question. It seems from historical records that there's a high probability that it'll go in the next few months to years. Which will make life interesting.

            Slight coating of ash on the car yesterday morn

  • Anyone have a link to some of the better pics of the ash explosion? There was a great thumbnail sized pic that was circulating on all the news stories when it first erupted but nobody's seen the high res original yet. Post cool, high res ash explosion pics in your replies. Thanks!

  • The BBC said the 1783 eruption killed tens of thousands and caused a mini ice age -- http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/magazine/8624791.stm [bbc.co.uk]. If that happened today, it could, at least, shutdown air travel for months and maybe even reverse global warming (while killing tens of thousands). Such a deal.
  • Laws (Score:3, Funny)

    by zmollusc (763634) on Saturday April 17, 2010 @07:43AM (#31880516)

    We are forbidden to burn rubbish in our gardens in case the ash destroys the ozone layer or whatever. Anybody have any stats as to the eco-damage those pesky icelanders are doing with their volcano?

  • Humm... it seems like we are seeing an increase in earthquakes and now a volcano. I wonder if it has anything to do with melting glaciers and polar ice caps. Seems like, as the ice melts its weight is shifted from the ice to the oceans. As sea levels rise, increased weight is applied to continental shelves and tectonic plates and weight is decreased where the ice was. I wonder if this could cause the plates to shift. Also, if volcanoes spew more sulfur, etc. into the atmosphere there could be a cooling effe
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by budgenator (254554)

      Earthquakes [iris.edu] look pretty typical to me, notoriety isn't the same thing as frequency or intensity. Also the glaciers have been melting for the entire Holocene [wikipedia.org], so that's really not unusual and to top it all off the polar ice caps have rebounded [nsidc.org] to normal levels. Some scientists have made a similar assertion to icecap melting leading to increased vulcanism;

      They said there was no sign that the current eruption from below the Eyjafjallajokull glacier that has paralysed flights over northern Europe was linked to

    • Humm... it seems like we are seeing an increase in earthquakes...

      No, we're not. It really isn't a good idea to use the media to measure how something 'increases'.

  • by Guppy (12314)

    I'm wondering if journalists and bloggers are finding they have to disable their catlike-typing [bitboost.com] detection software everytime they need to input the word "Eyjafjallajökull".

    • by pjt33 (739471)

      If they've got any sense they're copy-pasting. Hopefully from a reliable source.

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