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Latest volcano image from European Space Agency

April 20, 2010 | 12:54 pm


Not to be outdone by NASA, the European Space Agency has released a new photo of the ash plume emanating from the volcano that no one outside of Iceland seems able to pronounce: Eyjafjallajoekull. (For the record, it means "island mountain glacier, and maybe this song will help.)

The ash, seen in brownish-gray, has spread about 249 miles, according to the ESA, which captured the image with its Envisat satellite. 

The plume has wreaked havoc on air travel throughout northern Europe, with repercussions all over the globe. Even though the eruption is spewing tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, the amount is dwarfed by the CO2 savings from grounding air fleets, scientists told the Guardian newspaper. It also is unlikely to have any significant effect on global temperatures, because it does not contain much sulfur that, when transformed into sulfuric acid droplets, could shield solar radiation from entering the atmosphere, cooling it.

-- Geoff Mohan

Photo: A satellite image of Iceland volcano. Credit: ESA