DISPERSION OF THE VOLCANIC PLUME

During the eruption in spring 2010 former NERI (now DCE - Danish Centre for Environment and Energy) provided continuous calculations of how the plume with polluted air from the volcano underneath the Icelandic glacier Eyjafjallajökull would spread over Europe during the coming 3 days. The prognosis was updated every 6 hours but stopped on 25 May as the volcano was dormant.

You can either see an animation of how the plume will spread or select a number of hours to see how far the plume will have travelled at various moments.

The graphics show the amount of air pollution from ground level up to 20 km height on a relative scale where there is a factor 5000 between the lowest concentrations (dark green) and the highest concentrations (red). The prognosis is based on the assumption that the ash plume has been emitted to a height of 3 km according to reports from Iceland.

Please note that the model works in UTC time. Danish summertime = UTC plus 2 hours. Thus, 0:00 UTC, corresponding to midnight, is 2:00 a.m. UTC Danish summertime.

Reproduction of animation and stills (gif files) is permitted provided that acknowledgement is given to Danish Centre for Environment and Energy, Aarhus University.

Which pollutants can be found in the plume?

Nobody knows the exact composition of the Icelandic volcano plume, but the pollutants of greatest concern to human health in plumes from volcanoes are normally mineral particulates, sulphur dioxide (SO2), fluoridic acids and hydrochloric acid.

AU will also follow the development through its regular air quality monitoring network. The results can be followed online at the former NERI's website.

If parts of the plume reach ground level, it will most likely be registered first in Aalborg and then in Copenhagen, and most likely as an increase in the concentration of SO2. 

Contacts

Model calculations: Senior scientist Jørgen Brandt, jbr@dmu.dk, tel. +45 4630 1157, mobile +45 2870 7322

Health effects: Senior scientist Ole Hertel, oh@dmu.dk, tel. +45 4630 1148, mobile +45 2013 6844

Monitoring: Senior scientist Thomas Ellermann, tel@dmu.dk, tel. +45 4630 1166

Further information