The Grand Portage Reservation is at the northeastern tip of Minnesota. The Air Quality Program has many ongoing projects in order to maintain healthy indoor and outdoor air. These projects include monitoring for regional haze and particulate matter, indoor air quality, invasive plant removal, public outreach, environmental education, alternative energy, and climate change.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Iceland Volcanic Ash Plume Snarls Air Traffic Over Europe

The continuing eruption of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano in Iceland is sending a plume of ash 4 to 5km (13 - 16,000ft) high that is drifting northwest over northern Europe and has halted air traffic in the region. Volcanic ash can destroy jet engines, and unfortunately for thousands of stranded passengers this particular eruption is right in the flight path for hundreds of air routes.

There is already speculation on how much this plume of ash and gas will affect global climate this year, but from what I have read about the relative size of this eruption such speculation is premature. Much depends on how much ash is released and how high in the atmosphere it stays. Despite the chaos it is causing for Europe this eruption is still rather small by historical standards and doesn't seem to be pushing ash into the high stratosphere where it can spread globally.

Unless this eruption continues for months like this I doubt there will be much cooling effect on global temperatures, but it may give our European friends some spectacular sunsets for the rest of the summer.

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