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Puyehue-Cordón Caulle: flight disruption in Australia and New Zealand as the ash returns 21 June 2011

Posted by admin in activity reports, Chile, eruptions, Puyehue.

Puyehue-Cordon Caulle ash cloud animation - stills (Australian Bureau of Meteorology)

From the Australian Bureau of Meteorology comes a remarkable animated sequence of satellite images showing the ash cloud from Chile’s Puyehue-Cordón Caulle volcano circumnavigating the globe between 6 and 11 June. Four stills from the animation are reproduced above: for the full sequence click on the image or follow this link to the story at Australian Business Traveller.

Most of the current news coverage of the ongoing Puyehue-Cordón Caulle eruption is indeed concerned with the return of the volcano’s ash to plague flights in Australia and New Zealand. ‘This is going to unfortunately have a knock-on effect for many travelers’ says a Qantas spokeswoman, producing as ugly and gratuitous a spit infinitive as I have seen in a long while. Australian airlines seem to be readier to cancel flights than their New Zealand counterparts: Qantas and its low-cost subsidiary Jetstar have cancelled their services in and out of New Zealand, reports the New Zealand Herald, while Air New Zealand has ‘continued near normal operations by flying at a lower altitude’ (although when the earlier cloud came in at just 3,000 metres Air New Zealand were also forced to cancel flights). Virgin and Tiger Airways began cancelling flights yesterday, and there are more disruptions today: Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane have all been affected. The ash cloud has also had some effect on Cape Town International Airport in South Africa, where a small number of flights were delayed on 19 June as the ash cloud, on its second circumnavigation of the globe, passed directly across the flight paths. Among those whose travel plans were affected was South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma – erupting volcanoes are no respecters of persons.

The ash is forecast to remain to the south and south-east of Australia for the next day or so, according to the latest volcanic ash advisory from Darwin VAAC (issued 08:57 UTC 21 June 2011). The map accompanying the advisory is shown below: click on it to view the full-size original at Darwin VAAC.

Graphic accompanying Darwin VAAC volcanic ash advisory for Cordon Caulle issued 0857Z 21 June 2011

The latest news on the flight disruption is that Virgin is planning to resume flying earlier than expected, following forecasts that the ash is due to move ‘into the Tasman [Sea] tomorrow and no longer affect flights from the major cities’.

Drop in degrees the only danger from ashNew Zealand Herald, 19 June 2011
Operations on schedule at Cape Town International Airport – Cape Gateway, 20 June 2011
Ash cloud returns: Virgin, Tiger suspend flightsSydney Morning Herald, 20 June 2011
Chilean volcanic ash cloud affects flights in South Africa – MercoPress, 21 June 2011
Australian airlines cut flights as ash cloud returnsWall Street Journal, 21 June 2011
Major airports face ash cloud shutdown – ABC News, 21 June 2011
Jetstar, Qantas cancel NZ flightsNew Zealand Herald, 21 June 2011
Amazing animation of the Chilean volcano’s ash cloud spanning the globeAustralian Business Traveller, 21 June 2011
Virgin back in the air sooner as ash goes – News.com.au, 21 June 2011

Global Volcanism Program: Puyehue-Cordón Caulle volcanic complex – summary information for the PCCVC (1507-15=)

The Volcanism Blog


1. Beano - 21 June 2011

Never mind that no one in authority has put an aircraft up to take samples and do some investigation over Australian airspace.
Never mind that it’s been raining cats and dogs along the same areas as the plume is supposed to be and the huge thunder storm rain clouds covering the same elevations as the plume supposed to be. Never mind that no particles have been able to located on the ground in Australia.
A low cost Australian airline (Tiger Airways) has cancelled all domestic flights in Australia for the time being. This same airline lost 70 million dollars on air operations recently so probably it pays them not to fly.

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