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The volcano forecast: something a little different 5 March 2010

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Here in the United Kingdom one of the enduring pillars of our national life is the Shipping Forecast, a report on weather conditions around British and Irish shores put together by the Met Office and H.M. Coastguard and broadcast four times a day on BBC Radio 4. It may seem rather utilitarian, but the forecast has a certain poetic and imaginative quality that gives it an appeal far beyond the maritime community for whom it is a vital service.

Reading the Shipping Forecast is among the jobs of the BBC Radio Four announcers, and one of their number, the mellifluously-voiced Zeb Soanes, is a guest on the latest edition (no. 16) of the Shift Run Stop podcast put together by Leila Johnston and Roo Reynolds. Leila, a big fan of the regular SI/USGS Weekly Volcanic Activity Reports featured on this blog (and who wouldn’t be?) suggested Zeb should read a ‘volcanic activity forecast’ in the style of the Shipping Forecast, so I lightly adapted the 10-16 February report for him to read. The result, although it most definitely should not be relied upon by anyone seeking information about volcanic activity, is quite superb: you’ve no idea of the comic potential inherent in the term ‘small pyroclastic flow moving northwards’ until you’ve heard Zeb reading it.

You can hear the volcanic activity forecast at Shift Run Stop by clicking here to access the podcast. The volcano bit starts at about 20 minutes in (although you really ought to hear the whole thing, and then subscribe and buy the tape).

The Volcanism Blog