Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Second Ash Cloud from Iceland Volcano; Effects Far Reaching

April 20, 2010 - In financial terms, the effects of the dust and ash spewing from the Eyjafjallajökull volcano in Iceland are far greater than those of the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001.  Just when some thought the ash cloud that grounded air travel in Europe might clear up, we get word last night that a second ash cloud is on its way. Although not expected to be as dense as the first round of ash dust, the second cloud will present hazards as well. Experts are also saying that another volcano in Iceland could erupt at any time, and remind us that the Eyjafjallajökull activity could go on for months.

"Additional eruptions could potentially affect the weather worldwide. In particular, experts ware watching a volcano named Katla ("angry sister"), which is located near Eyjafjallajokull," according to the Cleveland Leader today. Any volcanic eruption can impact weather and climate. The Leader notes this: "Katla tends to blow about once per century. The last time it erupted was in 1918, and it caused massive flooding. This eruption lasted for a year. Most notably, during its eruption in the 1700's, temperatures dropped enough to freeze the Mississippi River near New Orleans, Louisana." (Take that, Al Gore.)

AOL News quotes a volcano expert as saying that "the conditions in Iceland are such at the moment that it is likely that another volcano will erupt before too long."  The expert, Thorvaldur Thordarson, is a University of Edinburgh volcanologist. He also said, "Because Katla is larger and produces more magma than Eyjafjallajokull, an eruption there could prove to be significantly more explosive."  It could also have an even heavier financial impact on the world economy.  AOL News also reports, "scientists are monitoring Hekla -- once known by Icelanders as the "gateway to hell" -- and at least two more of the tiny country's nearly three dozen active volcanoes, anxious that they could be the next to go."

Rebecca Kelley at Examiner.com today wrote, "Not since airlines were halted during the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York have they had to deal with the kind of financial burden the volcano in Iceland has generated. Each day it is estimated airlines are losing an estimated 240 million. At last count, 95,000 flights have been grounded and eight million passengers have been stranded." Read More...

That's just the airline industry, and all those losses in less than a week. There is much more to the financial disaster than lost airline profits, of course. Every one of those 95,000 flights that Kelley referred to was carrying passengers and/or cargo. So, merchandise and other goods are not getting to market. Some it, undoubtedly, is perishable and has spoiled.

Many of people who would have been on those flights wanted to fly to or from Europe for tourism or to conduct business. As a result of being grounded or delayed, hundreds of millions of dollars in tourist spending and business deals have been lost. Cabbies in Paris and Berlin and Glasgow have less cash because of this. Bartenders, waiters and waitresses, restaurants and hotels have no doubt felt a pinch in profits. Even local taxing authorities will be affected; all that lost income would have been taxable. On the other hand, some businesses, such as ferry services, are actually profiting from the airlines' troubles.

Just to play with numbers, let's say that each of those 95,000 flights would have carried an average of 100 passengers. That would be 9,500,000 people. Then say that each would have spent an average of $100 dollars for every day they were in the cities they wanted to get to, but couldn't. That would be $950,000,000. That's enormous, and it doesn't even take into account the cost of lost sales, lost deals, spoiled perishables, and so on. Businesses and travelers around the world are affected by the volcano's ash.

Iceland volcano sends new tremors, lower ash cloud‎ Reuters
Iceland volcano cloud: The economic impact BBC
'Iron Man 2': Iceland volcano affects London premiere‎ Examiner.com
Hollywood Hurting due to volcano in Iceland: Movie Premiere Gather.com
Iceland Volcano Has PM Running Norway from an iPad‎ DaniWeb
Additional Volcanic Eruptions Could Affect Global Climate‎ Cleveland Leader
Could Iceland's Volcano Slow Global Warming?‎ Atlantic Online
Iceland Eruption Too Small To Cool The Planet‎ - RedOrbit

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