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The Eyjafallajokull Volcanic Dust Cloud and UK Air Quality

News published: 15/04/2010

Currently there is a cloud of volcanic ash situated over the UK, caused by the eruption of the Eyjafallajokull volcano in Iceland. This cloud of volcanic ash has grounded most flights from UK airports, due to the dangers to aircraft engines from the fine abrasive dust. Current 96 hour back trajectory clearly indicate that air arriving over the UK has originated from Iceland.

The air mass back trajectories agree closely with the graphics issued by the Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre, VAAC, showing the plume's location. This shows that the ash cloud originated over Iceland and then travelled eastward towards Scandinavia, before heading South West towards the UK.

Currently the cloud of volcanic ash is estimated to be at an altitude of between 6 - 11 km; the likelihood of it grounding in the next 24 hours over the UK and its effect on ground level air quality is therefore expected to be minimal. Current PM10 concentrations are low as measured by AURN air monitoring stations. There is at the present time no apparent significant rise in PM10 levels due to the cloud. We will continue to monitor the situation closely and advise of any developments.

Please see details.

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