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Transportation Earth

Iceland Volcano's Ash Grounds European Air Travel 283

Posted by timothy
from the stubbornly-refuses-to-attend-climate-summit dept.
Ch_Omega writes "From the article at CBSNews: 'An ash-spewing volcano in Iceland emptied the skies of aircraft across much of northern Europe on Thursday, grounding planes on a scale unseen since the 9/11 terror attacks. British air space shut down, silencing the trans-Atlantic hub of Heathrow and stranding tens of thousands of passengers around the world. Aviation officials said it was not clear when it would be safe enough to fly again and said it was the first time in living memory that an ash cloud had brought one of the world's most congested airspaces to a standstill.'" The BBC says "Safety group Eurocontrol said the problem could persist for 48 hours," and the Deccan Herald describes some of the effects on the ground in the volcano's home turf: "In Iceland, hundreds of people are fleeing rising floodwaters as the volcano under the glacier Eyjafjallajokull erupted yesterday again, for a second time in less than a month."
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Iceland Volcano's Ash Grounds European Air Travel

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  • great name (Score:5, Funny)

    by berashith (222128) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @04:20PM (#31862860)

    My cat can type words like Eyjafjallajokull too.

    • Re:great name (Score:5, Informative)

      by Kjella (173770) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @04:31PM (#31863074) Homepage

      It's not nearly as complicated as it seems, "fjalla" means mountain and "jokull" glacier so a native would read it more like "the glacier of the mountain Eyja" or "Eyja Mountain Glacier". But like the Scandinavian and German language they build one long word out of it.

      • Re:great name (Score:5, Informative)

        by ibwolf (126465) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @05:21PM (#31863868)

        It's not nearly as complicated as it seems, "fjalla" means mountain and "jokull" glacier so a native would read it more like "the glacier of the mountain Eyja" or "Eyja Mountain Glacier". But like the Scandinavian and German language they build one long word out of it.

        It is even simpler than that as Eyja means island (err, since Iceland is spelled Island in Icelandic maybe that isn't a simplification). It is a reference to the nearby Vestmann Islands, that lie just off the coast from where the glacier is.

        So Eyjafjallajökull -> Islands Mountain Glacier.

    • by Jeian (409916)

      Gesundheit!

      Words like what?

    • by Shimbo (100005) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @06:42PM (#31864968)

      I blame Mattel for changing the Scrabble rules to allow proper nouns. Within a couple of weeks of them doing it we have a volcano in Eyjafjallajokull, and the Kyrgyz president fleeing the country. Coincidence, I think not.

  • Could last a while (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mick232 (1610795) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @04:23PM (#31862920)
    The last eruption was in 1821 and lasted 2 years... you better get yourself some train tickets if you want to travel in Europe!
  • by PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @04:37PM (#31863178)

    England and Iceland have been in a huff ever since a lot of English tax dodgers lost their fortunes in Icelandic banks that went tits up. The British have been threatening Iceland with everything, even including their major satire weapon weapon of mass destruction, "Viz" ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viz [wikipedia.org] )

    The Icelandians have responded with volcanic gas.

    Let's hope that this situation doesn't escalate.

    • by IrquiM (471313)

      Yeah, I thought the same, so I got back at them by not going to iceland.co.uk during my lunch break!

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 15, 2010 @05:53PM (#31864338)

      Dear Iceland,

      We said "send CASH".

      Yours sincerely,
      United Kingdom

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by augustw (785088)

      1) They weren't tax dodgers, just ordinary savers choosing to save with an Icelandic-owned bank. The British government are pissed that they compensated the savers (expecting Iceland to repay them later), and now the Icelandic government won't cough up what they owe the British government.

      2) England is not the same thing as Britain, Britain is not the same thing as England. Exactly like California is not the same thing as the USA, and the USA is not the same thing as California. Not to hard to grasp, is i

      • > Exactly like California is not the same thing as the USA, and the USA is not
        > the same thing as California. Not to hard to grasp, is it?

        You wouldn't think so, but some Europeans seem to have trouble with it (though it is more often New York they confound with the USA).

  • How much ash will this volcano produce, and how long will its effect affect commercial air travel in the EU?

    It'll be interesting to see how society copes when all you can do is sit back and wait for mother nature.

  • by northland5 (1188807) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @04:42PM (#31863280)
    Any pissed off European travelers stuck in the airport reading /. may want to read KLM vs. Mt. Reboubt [wikipedia.org] before hitting the friendly skies.
  • by Harold Halloway (1047486) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @04:52PM (#31863438)

    First they fucked up our fishing, then they fucked up our economy, now they're fucking up our air. I say we INVADE these unpronounceable herring-botherers.

  • To the folks over there, my advice is "Embrace and enjoy the experience".

    I had a similar experience in the unhappy days immediately after 9-11: I had scheduled vacation time (fortunately, I was driving, not flying). It was an unusual experience seeing NO contrails in the sky (and being in Kansas I have a LOT of sky to look at!). While the cause of the event was horribly tragic, the result was interesting.

    Moreover, there were several pieces of research on cloud formation and the effects of contrails on it th

  • Optimistically, now's the best window of downtime they'll have in years to upgrade the air traffic control systems!
  • by Fjan11 (649654) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @05:00PM (#31863562) Homepage
    "Safety group Eurocontrol"... Eurocontrol is the European air traffic management center.
  • iPad to the rescue! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jschen (1249578) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @05:20PM (#31863864)
    According to a CNN article [cnn.com], the prime minister of Norway is stranded as a result of the resulting travel chaos and "running the Norwegian government from the U.S. via his new iPad".
    • by Blakey Rat (99501)

      Running the Norwegian Government? What is that, like 15 minutes a week? Tops.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by catman (1412)
      Heh - he'll have to turn in his iPad at customs when he gets here- its transmitter is too powerful according to EU regulations, which Norway follows.

      The Crown Prince is stranded in London on his way home from a visit in Qatar, but at least he can make it home via ship from Newcastle to Bergen.

      The worst problem Norway faces is emergency services for the dispersed population in the north of the country. Locally, helicopters provide ambulance services - and what used to be a half-hour helicopter flight m

  • ALING, Heathrow, Thursday (NTN) — Prime Minister Gordon Brown has condemned Iceland's terrorist attack on British air travel and their refusal to refund tourists' air tickets.

    The UK government used anti-terrorism laws to freeze all British-held assets of Umhverfisráðuneyti, the Icelandic Ministry Against the Environment, after minister Kolbrún Halldórsdóttir threatened to further unleash the power of the Katla volcano in the wake of the devastation to school holidays caused by Eyjafjallajökull.

    Thousands of confused and angry passengers wandered around Britain's becalmed airports today trying in vain to find out how long the disruption caused by the ash cloud might last. "Can't we just, you know, give the planes a try?" said Brenda Busybody, 54 (IQ), of East Cheam. "I wanted to go and rest on holiday, and Monday I'm back to doing nothing in the office. I pay my licence fee!"

    The Prime Minister offered his outrage and sympathy, in lieu of money or anything useful. "This is fundamentally a problem with the Icelandic-registered El-stodth Thyonustah Voweld," said Mr Brown, attempting not to choke on his own tongue. "They have failed the people of Iceland and they have failed the people of Northern Europe! You pay my licence fee! Er, hold on ..."

    Icelandic Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir also offered her sympathies to British travellers. "But, you know, we're still pretty upset about the cod."

  • Dear Iceland,

    Until you can name a volcano something that the rest of the world can actually pronounce, you will still be considered a terrorist nation. No amount of volcanic ash or glaciers melting (playing up to the global warming crowd) will excuse you.

  • Police arrested an Icelandic man of Nigerian extraction after the flight he was on made an emergency landing when the man, who's name is not known at this time, attempted to cause the eruption of a small volcano hidden in his underpants. Experts say it is unlikely a thermal feature of this size could have brought down the plane, as the amount of magma would have have been too small to cause much damage.

    Turning now to Hollywood entertainment....
  • Iceland fart in your general direction...
  • This is clearly a case of cause and effect. The weighty US Health Care Reform Act combined with Global Warming is being catalyzed by a black hole from the LHC. The volcano is the result. Clearly, the World is going to end!

    Cue the guy with a bell and a "The End is Nigh" billboard.

  • Katla Volcano (Score:5, Informative)

    by mbone (558574) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @09:13PM (#31866548)

    There is another, larger, volcano nearby called Katla and ...

    "Eyjafjallajokull has blown three times in the past thousand years," Dr McGarvie told The Times [timesonline.co.uk], "in 920AD, in 1612 and between 1821 and 1823. Each time it set off Katla." The likelihood of Katla blowing could become clear "in a few weeks or a few months", he said.

    Given this, and given that the last eruption was on and off for 2 years, we could have travel interruptions for a while to come.

  • Map failure (Score:3, Informative)

    by russotto (537200) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @09:43PM (#31866796) Journal

    I noticed a few people up above slightly confused about where Iceland is, based on misleading map projections. But WCBS radio (New York) this morning certainly gets the fail-prize for World Geography; their commentator noted how a volcano erupting "halfway around the world" was canceling flights from New York to London.

    Nice going, guys. All the Londoners stuck in the airport who were listening now have an even worse opinion of American geographical knolwegde.

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