Since the eruption of Iceland’s Eyjafjallajökull, there has been speculation about the triggering of its larger neighbour, Katla. Recent research from scientists at the UCL Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction warn this is a strong possibility.
The ‘post-mortem’ into the eruption concludes that if any future eruptions combine with the right weather conditions, there is likely to be a repeat of the recent air transport disruption.
But the unpredictability of volcanic activity and weather conditions make it difficult to predict when this might occur – and at what scale. The graphic above shows the location of the most active volcanoes in Iceland.
The report is also critical of the response to the ash cloud, describing it as entirely reactive. The impact on airspace could have been predicted, it says, and better preparations could have been made as the dangers of ash clouds to aircraft have been recognised for nearly three decades.
The report also says that the potential threat presented by volcanic ash should be added to the UK’s national risk register.
Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction director, Professor Peter Sammonds, said: “Volcanoes in Iceland have now become a key concern for the UK. “We need to know how these ice-capped volcanoes may disrupt air transport in the future. That means understanding better the volcanology, the ice physics and meteorology, as well as assessing the risk of ash to aircraft engines and systems.”