Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Eyjafjallajokull's global fallout: Airports affected are not necessarily the ones you would think

Date:
April 23, 2010
Source:
Northwestern University
Summary:
To gauge Eyjafjallajokull's global impact, researchers studied the worldwide air transportation network before and after 27 major European airports were closed. They found mobility patterns in places far from Europe -- including the United States, India and southeast Asia -- were significantly affected by the European disruption, to the surprise of the team. At the top of the list of most affected airports still operating were Singapore, Hong Kong and Beijing.

Shortest-path tree of Mumbai, India: The impact of the airport closures before (left) and after (right) the closures. The dots, with each dot representing an airport that Atlanta or Mumbai connect to, are pushed away from the central airport, illustrating the increased time it would take now to travel between two points.
Credit: Brockmann Group / Image courtesy of Northwestern University

Eyjafjallajökull and its massive cloud of volcanic ash clearly have had an enormous impact on Europe and its airports, disrupting the mobility of millions and costing airlines more than a billion euros. But what about the volcano's effect globally?

Related Articles


While much more difficult to determine, Northwestern University professor Dirk Brockmann and his research group jumped at the chance to examine the global impact. Mobility patterns in places far from Europe -- including the United States, India and southeast Asia -- were significantly affected by the European disruption, to the surprise of Brockmann.

The team compared the entire worldwide air transportation network before and after the 27 major European airports were closed and used complex network theory to compute and list the most affected airports still operating.

"We were surprised to discover that at the top of the list were airports outside of Europe, not airports in Europe," Brockmann said. "Singapore, Hong Kong and Beijing are some of the high-traffic airports most affected, despite being geographically distant from Europe and separated from Iceland by continents."

He and his graduate students Daniel Grady, Christian Thiemann and Olivia Woolley also found that airports like Madrid and Dubai have become more central in the entire air transportation network, taking over the role of the closed airports.

Brockmann and his group have expertise in running simulations and computational models of human transportation networks and pandemic diseases. He is associate professor of engineering sciences and applied mathematics at Northwestern's McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science.

"European airports are bridges to the world -- the majority of global air traffic goes through Europe," Brockmann said. "The distances to places have increased globally as a result of the volcanic ash disruption. Mumbai, for example, has become more disconnected than we expected from the U.S. and Africa. Flights from the U.S. to Mumbai normally go through Europe, but now Mumbai is a more distant city to us."

A trip that may have required two flights before the volcano's eruption might have taken four or five trips when the situation was at its worst, which translates into more time, says Brockmann.

At the peak of the disruption, with the 27 major European airports closed, 10 percent of the entire global air traffic system was removed. The slowdown in air traffic affected not only the mobility of people but that of fresh vegetables and fruit, grains and other food, medicine, machinery parts and more.

"The removal of those 27 nodes dramatically affects the entire complex system," said Brockmann. "We can quantify Eyjafjallajökull's effect and illustrate it, which is not a simple thing to do." (After much practice, he can pronounce the volcano's name. It is pronounced EYE-a-fyat-la-jo-kutl.)

"In this case, the entire air transportation system was slowed but still works," said Brockmann, who most recently studied the spread of swine flu. "Our calculations show that an actual system breakdown requires the removal of 80 percent of the airports from the system. This shows how robust the system is."

The researchers next plan to make a comparative analysis of the Eyjafjallajökull's event and the effects of 9/11 on air traffic and mobility.

Illustrations of the global effects are available at: http://rocs.northwestern.edu/projects/resilience/eyjafjallajokull.html


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Northwestern University. The original article was written by Megan Fellman. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Northwestern University. "Eyjafjallajokull's global fallout: Airports affected are not necessarily the ones you would think." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 April 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100423094620.htm>.
Northwestern University. (2010, April 23). Eyjafjallajokull's global fallout: Airports affected are not necessarily the ones you would think. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100423094620.htm
Northwestern University. "Eyjafjallajokull's global fallout: Airports affected are not necessarily the ones you would think." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100423094620.htm (accessed November 25, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Science & Society News

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Who Will Failed Nuclear Talks Hurt Most?

Who Will Failed Nuclear Talks Hurt Most?

Reuters - Business Video Online (Nov. 25, 2014) — With no immediate prospect of sanctions relief for Iran, and no solid progress in negotiations with the West over the country's nuclear programme, Ciara Lee asks why talks have still not produced results and what a resolution would mean for both parties. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
FCC Forces T-Mobile To Alert Customers Of Data Throttling

FCC Forces T-Mobile To Alert Customers Of Data Throttling

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) — T-Mobile and the FCC have reached an agreement requiring the company to alert customers when it throttles their data speeds. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) — The US FDA is announcing new calorie rules on Tuesday that will require everywhere from theaters to vending machines to include calorie counts. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Symantec Uncovers Sophisticated Spying Malware Regin

Symantec Uncovers Sophisticated Spying Malware Regin

Newsy (Nov. 24, 2014) — A Symantec white paper reveals details about Regin, a spying malware of unusual complexity which is believed to be state-sponsored. 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

 

Science & Society

Business & Industry

Education & Learning

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