Eritrean volcano eruption won’t disrupt Israeli air traffic

Israel Meteorological Service says volcano shouldn't have an affect on air routes.

June 16, 2011 02:56
1 minute read.
Lava spews from the active Mt. Kilauea volcano

Hawaii volcano 311. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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Following a second – and stronger – eruption of the Dubbi volcano in Eritrea, the Israel Meteorological Service still maintains that there should be no affect on the nation’s air traffic.

The volcano erupted for the first time in the East African country at 9 p.m. on Sunday, according to the Toulouse regional office of the Volcanic Ash Advisory Center, reportedly set off by a series of earthquakes.

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Ash from the eruption reached Israel on Tuesday morning, but at a height of 10, 500 to 14 000 meters – 6,000 above domestic air routes – and has now completely left the country’s airspace, said Evgeny Brainin, a forecaster for the Israel Meteorological Service. After a second eruption, particles from the volcano have now once again reached southern Egypt, Cairo’s news sources reported.

Different from the first eruption, however, which spread a cloud of ash – heavy particles that include metals, hydrocarbons and sulfur dioxide – throughout the region, this second cloud likely only contains sulfur dioxide, a much lighter material, Brainin told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday night.

“We can see there are continuous eruptions of this volcano and there was volcanic ash and maybe other particles yesterday above our skies,” he said. “We connected with the Volcanic Ash Advisory Center in Toulouse and they told us it’s now not ash particles, but more probably sulfur dioxide particles, and they don’t know if these affect air traffic.”

While the Israel Meteorological Service asked staff members at Toulouse if they knew above all doubt that the sulfur dioxide cloud would have no impact on air traffic, the team never received a response, according to Brainin.

But because sulfur dioxide particles are much smaller than ash, which “can get into an engine and make trouble for it,” the second cloud will probably cause no problems, even if it does reach Israel, he said.

“It’s not expected that an ash cloud will come to Israel – maybe some sulfur dioxide will come over tomorrow, but sulfur dioxide won’t pose an issue for aircraft,” Brainin said.

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