Posts Tagged ‘Volcanic ash’

Computer models are only models – and subject to common sense

May 25, 2011

Once again the blind belief in computer models has closed down parts of European air space. Observations and measurements are given less weight than computer models which are at best crude approximations of a chaotic system. The unthinking belief in approximations to reality merely because they are generated by computer models denies the sapience in homo sapiens!!


Most flights have resumed across the UK after a day that saw thousands of passengers affected by an ash cloud from the erupting Icelandic volcano. Air traffic control company Nats said harmful concentrations of ash dispersed from UK airspace overnight. But some flights within the UK and a number to Germany will be cancelled.

As one blogger puts it:

Airline managers are complaining that last year, officials did not do enough to check the actual conditions in the air, instead relying too heavily on computer models showing where the ash was supposed to be. Yet, despite the experience, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) is saying that it is “astonishing and unacceptable” that a British aircraft that is supposed to check actual conditions has been unable to fly.

The disruption arises in part from “volatile winds” which are said to be carrying clouds of volcanic ash down from Iceland over the northern British Isles. But those same winds which caused the rough weather yesterday must also have dispersed the ash.

Without real data, however, forecasters are unable to provide accurate information on ash density and particle size, relying instead on weather patterns and computer modelling to give a rough approximation of conditions. And, with no clear guidance as to closure rules, the only significant difference between this year and last is that the weather conditions are more changeable, allowing more favourable estimates of ash dispersion to be made.

Climate Realists: We know that the Met Office doesn’t bother much with evidence, witness Prof John Mitchell’s unguarded remarks at the Downing College Conference:

People underestimate the power of models. Observational evidence is not very useful,… Our approach is not entirely empirical.

And Mount Kirishima in Japan is also spewing ash

January 28, 2011

The Japan Times:

News photo

Mount Kirishima's Shinmoedake peak, seen from Takaharu, Miyazaki Prefecture, spews ash Thursday morning. KYODO PHOTO

Mount Kirishima continued erupting Thursday on the border between Kagoshima and Miyazaki prefectures, spewing columns of smoke up to more than 2,500 meters, the weather agency said.

Rocks were blasted as far as 8 km from Kirishima’s Shinmoedake peak, according to the Meteorological Agency. Volcanic ash disrupted train and flight services in the area. The agency revised the scale of the eruption upward to “medium” from the initial “small,” after the smoke columns reached about 500 meters higher than Wednesday. …. Volcanic tremors indicating magma activities also continued Thursday.

The first in-depth eruption began Wednesday at around 7:30 p.m., when the 1,421-meter Shinmoedake peak began spewing debris in its second outburst since a small eruption Jan. 19, the agency said. According to the Miyazaki Observatory, ash is falling on a wide area that includes the cities of Miyazaki and Nichinan in Miyazaki Prefecture, and has partially closed expressways in Kyushu.

According to Bloomberg:

Japan’s government issued alerts after a volcano on the southern island of Kyushu erupted for the first time in 52 years, causing the evacuation of homes and cancellation of more than 60 flights.

Shinmoedake, in the Kirishima range, erupted yesterday, spewing ash as high as 2,500 meters (8,200 feet) into the air, Japan’s Meteorological Agency said in a statement on its website. A second eruption occurred today at about 1 p.m. local time, national broadcaster NHK reported. Ash from the volcano reached Miyazaki city, 50 kilometers (30 miles) to the east, according to the broadcaster.

Japan Airlines Corp. canceled 37 flights to or from nearby Miyazaki airport, according to its website today. Three additional flights will be scrapped tomorrow, it said. All Nippon Airways Co., Asia’s largest listed carrier, canceled 24 flights affecting 3,350 people, spokeswoman Nana Kon said by phone today.

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