Volcanic ash is bad news for pilots.
Today air travelers have not been able to fly. Here’s why.
Volcanoes can cause major problems for aeroplanes. Most people associate flying blobs of molton rock, known as bombs, and massive plumes of smoke with erupting volcanoes. Pilots obviously avoid these hazardous conditions when flying! But a real threat to aircraft, particularly jets, is much more subtle, in the form of volcanic ash.
Volcanic ash is not carbon particles, like smoke. It is actually made up of tiny particles of volcanic rock. The silicates in the rock can even turn to glass as it rapidly cools and interacts with the atmosphere!
The black stuff doesn't agree with aircraft
Volcanic pumice is particularly abrasive, great for treating corns on your feet, but not so great when millions tiny particles of the rock are speeding through the finely engineered components of a jet engine. It can even etch the cabin windows, ruining the view.
Because the particles of rock are so small they easily melt in the combustion chamber of the jet and then cover the moving parts with a ceramic layer.
The dust that makes it through the bleed air systems that pumps air into the cabin, can damage electronic systems and even be trodden into the carpet. All in all, it is better not to fly through the stuff. Aircraft and volcanic ash are just not compatible.
Because volcanic ash is so light weight and is carried up high into the atmosphere by the volcano’s eruption, it remains suspended in the air at high altitude, just where the passenger jets are designed to be flown. In this case the ash is at around 20,000 feet.
It is for this reason air traffic has been stopped in areas that are affected by plumes of volcanic ash, which can be blown by the upper winds for hundreds of miles.
What is an ASHTAM?
NOTAMs are Notes to Airmen that are issued by the civil air authorities. An ASHTAM is a notice to pilots about the threat of volcanic ash. These are not uncommon around the world but don’t usually effect Europe or the UK.
Our skies are empty!
What goes up must come down?
Gravity eventually brings the larger particles to earth but the smaller particles can remain aloft indefinitely.
This dust contributes to our weather in a very important way. It becomes what is known as condensation nuclei. Water that has evaporated into the air must condense on a particle of dust before it becomes a droplet. Without dust clouds would’t form. So volcanoes are actually an essential part of our atmospheric system. That’s the good news. The bad news, apart from grounding aeroplanes, is that excessive quantities of dust can change the weather patterns, especially during a British summer. Yep, it could mean even more rain.
Here’s an extract from wikipedia about ash: Air Safety
“There are many instances of damage to jet aircraft from ash encounters. In one of them in 1982, British Airways Flight 009 flew through an ash cloud, lost all four engines, and descended from 36,000 ft (11,000 m) to only 12,000 ft (3,700 m) before the flight crew managed to restart the engines. A similar incident occurred on December 15, 1989 involving KLM Flight 867.
With the growing density of air traffic, encounters like this are becoming more common. In 1991 the aviation industry decided to set up Volcanic Ash Advisory Centers (VAACs), one for each of 9 regions of the world, acting as liaisons between meteorologists, volcanologists, and the aviation industry”
An interesting fact.
One volcanic eruption spews more greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere than mankind will fore the next ten thousand years!
The problem is not our Co2 emissions but that mankind has cut down the forests, natures method of absorbing the Co2.
Should we be worried?
The ash cloud could create problems for a quite while if the volcano continues to erupt and the winds carry the dust over Europe. There are, however, no health risks to people on the ground. The larger particles that fall to earth are too big to affect the lungs, and the smaller particles will only come down with rainfall. So there’s nothing to worry about unless you are stuck somewhere!
– Post From My iPhone
Location:Wellingley Rd,Doncaster,United Kingdom