Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

University weather balloon measures volcanic plume

Date:
April 22, 2010
Source:
University of Reading
Summary:
More accurate data about the potential danger to aircraft from volcanic plumes is being gathered by scientists. As another plume is due to sweep across the UK in the next few days, researchers are using a newly-developed weather balloon to feed back important information to the Met Office about the make-up of the volcanic ash.

More accurate data about the potential danger to aircraft from volcanic plumes is being gathered by scientists from the University of Reading.

Related Articles


As another plume is due to sweep across the UK in the next few days, researchers are using a newly-developed weather balloon to feed back important information to the Met Office about the make-up of the volcanic ash.

This is the first time that direct measurements of the plume over Scotland have been available.

The measurement technique being used was originally developed to study the properties of Saharan dust clouds for climate models, but has turned out to be ideally suited to measuring a volcanic cloud.

The instrument measures the particle size and concentration using a miniature laser system carried by the balloon. It was specifically designed to take electric charge measurements too, which, as television images of volcanic lightning show, can be an important property of volcanic plumes. The weather balloon technique provides detailed information on the ash plume position, extent and structure.

As well as the particle size and concentration data, the balloon system also reports its position using GPS.

Prof Giles Harrison, Professor of Atmospheric Physics in the Department of Mereorology, and Keri Nicoll, whose PhD project included developing the charge sensor, set up a ground station at Stranraer under the dust cloud.

The RAF helicopter scrambled at the weekend to transport the scientists and equipment to fly to Scotland at low level under the ash plume had to be grounded, forcing a long journey through the night by road.

Professor Harrison said: "To get good measurements of the ash we needed to be both under the ash plume, but in cloud free air. Fortunately the Met Office predictions for an ideal observation window at a site near Stranraer were bang on, allowing us to launch our balloon to pass directly through the volcanic plume.

"Despite the beguilingly blue sky at Stranraer, the weather balloon measurements showed a layer of volcanic dust at 4km aloft. The plume was about 500m thick, with very abrupt edges. Most of the particles sampled were around one millionth of a meter in (1 micron) diameter."

The results will also provide vital data about haazards to aircraft should there be similar events in the future.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Reading. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Reading. "University weather balloon measures volcanic plume." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 April 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100422095555.htm>.
University of Reading. (2010, April 22). University weather balloon measures volcanic plume. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 31, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100422095555.htm
University of Reading. "University weather balloon measures volcanic plume." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100422095555.htm (accessed March 31, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

You Won't Be Driving Tesla's Mystery Product

You Won't Be Driving Tesla's Mystery Product

Newsy (Mar. 30, 2015) — Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced a new product line will debut April 30, but it&apos;s not a car. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Solar Impulse Departs Myanmar for China

Solar Impulse Departs Myanmar for China

AFP (Mar. 30, 2015) — Solar Impulse 2 takes off from Myanmar&apos;s second biggest city of Mandalay and heads for China&apos;s Chongqing, the fifth flight of a landmark journey to circumnavigate the globe powered solely by the sun. Duration: 00:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Colombian Project Transforms Old Tires Into Green Housing

Colombian Project Transforms Old Tires Into Green Housing

AFP (Mar. 30, 2015) — To put a roof over their heads and help the environment, residents near Bogota are building houses out of recycled bottles and old tires. Duration: 01:10 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Future Of Japanese Whaling: Heritage Vs. Conservation

The Future Of Japanese Whaling: Heritage Vs. Conservation

Newsy (Mar. 30, 2015) — In 2014, the International Court of Justice ruled Japan could no longer engage in whaling in the Antarctic, but Japan has plans to return this year. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins