Grímsvötn volcano FAQ

Volcanic eruption

Here we try to answer some of your questions on volcanic ash prediction, roles and responsibilities and provide links to other relevant organisations.

The ash plume

Where is the plume likely to be?

For latest news on the plume go to the Icelandic volcano charts page.

Does the weather mean the ash will blow towards the UK?

Amounts of ash will depend on the activity of the volcano and weather patterns. We continue to monitor the weather and warn the appropriate agencies if the ash heads for the UK.

What has the Met Office got to do with forecasting volcanic ash?

The Met Office is one of nine International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) recognised Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC). We are responsible for giving advice to European Met Watch Offices on the dispersion of ash clouds emitted from volcanoes in the North East Atlantic; primarily from Iceland. Met Office volcanic ash forecasting developments. We run our model to advise were the ash is likely to be. Find out more about volcanic ash modelling by the Met Office on YouTube.

Volcanic ash and flying

What is the effect of volcanic ash on aircraft?

That is for the aircraft manufacturers and the airlines to determine.

Will flights be cancelled and airspace closed?

That is for the CAA (Civil Aviation Authority),  NATS (National Air Traffic Services) and the airlines to determine.

Should I cancel my holiday or make alternative travel plans?

For up-to-date details on airspace restrictions please check the  NATS website or contact your tour operator or airline for details on flight plans.

Can small private aircraft fly?

Private pilots should seek advice from  NATS or the  CAA (Civil Aviation Authority).

Volcanic ash and you

How will I know if there is ash over the UK?

Met Office modelling can give you good advice about where the ash is likely to be. It could also be visible in the sky as a grey/brown cloud or seen as a thin grey film on objects like cars.

What is the effect on health?

Please check the  Health Protection Agency or Health Protection Scotland website. These includes advice for those with asthma and other health conditions.

Will this make global warming worse or stop it?

Although it is too early to say what impact the eruption may or may not have, the scale of the plume is currently not sufficiently large enough to have a major affect on global weather or climate. When compared to previous volcanic eruptions which have had an impact on the climate, this one is less powerful.

Last updated: 13 July 2011