In 2010 the Eyjafjallajokull volcano in Iceland spewed volcanic ash across a critical flight path between the US and Europe and sent a cloud of volcanic ash over much of eastern and central Europe. This forced European officials to close the majority of airspace in the region for six days, stranding an estimated 10 million passengers and costing airlines over $2 billion dollars.
Now a different volcano in Iceland, the Bardarbunga, is showing signs of seismic activity and it has scientists and aviation officials worried enough to raise the risk level to aviation for a volcanic eruption to orange – a level four on a five-grade scale.
“Airlines are on alert as one of Iceland’s biggest volcanoes rumbles to life, threatening ash clouds that could force flight cancellations across the North Atlantic, the busiest international travel market.
AirFrance, Deutsche Lufthansa AG and Delta Air Lines Inc. (DAL) are among carriers watching Bardarbunga volcano for an eruption, the latest in a series of actual or potential hazards to interfere with commercial air routes. Iceland’s Civil Protection Agency began evacuating the area north of the volcano yesterday.”
“There is still no sign of this intrusion being on its way to the surface,” said Martin Hensch, a seismologist at the Icelandic Met Office. “It’s still impossible to say whether or not the volcano will erupt, due to the simple fact that we can’t predict what the developments in the next hours or days will be.”
Weather.com is one of the many media outlets covering this story and posted this video on its homepage:
While I wouldn’t be cancelling plans to Europe for the next coupe of weeks, it makes sense to monitor the situation very closely. It might be wise to spend a few minutes researching options in advance to escape Europe through a eastbound or southbound path should the volcano start to erupt.