Ash Cloud Moves Over Germany, Cancels More Flights

on May 25 2011 9:09 AM

 

Clouds of ash from Iceland's Grimsvotn volcano caused a major stir yesterday, triggering hundreds of European flight cancellations.  So what is the forecast for today?

According to the [Volcanic Ash Advisory Center] forecasts, it is expected that ash-cloud coverage will dissipate during the day, said Eurocontrol, the agency that that coordinates air-traffic control in Europe. 

However, aviation regulators in Germany have said that unsafe ash levels required the closure of Hamburg and Bremen airports and the surrounding airspace.  Collectively, the two airports handle roughly 600 flights a day.

Eurocontrol also cautioned that Berlin's two airports may be affected later on Wednesday, as could parts of Poland.

There are no restrictions on flights in any other part of Europe and, at this stage, none are expected.

Grimsvotn, the creator of the recent disturbance, is an active volcano that lies at the heart of Iceland's biggest glacier in the south-east corner of the country.  This was its largest eruption in 100 years, blasting roughly 100 times more material per second into the atmosphere than was released from Eyjafjallajokull last year.  The event led Icelandic air-traffic control to shut Keflavik International Airport on Monday, with European flight cancellations in the hundreds by Tuesday.

Activity at the volcano has slowed and its ash plume has dropped considerably from its peak of 20 kilometers in altitude, the Icelandic Meteorological Office said on Tuesday.  Most meteorologists affirmed on Wednesday that they expect the ash clouds to disappear during the day, allowing all airlines to resume normal operations.

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