cloud of volcanic ash from Icelandic Grimsvötn is expected to reach southern Sweden on Tuesday evening, according to the latest prognoses from the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute (SMHI). But scientists are hopeful that the volcano’s activity is calming down.
“We can see signs of decreased activity,” said seismologist Reynir Bödvarsson of Uppsala University to news agency TT.
Bödvarsson doesn’t know if the trend will continue but thinks that there is reason to be hopeful.
“The activity could be calming down, “ he said to TT.
According to the latest prognosis the ash will reach southern parts of Sweden by Tuesday evening.
“At the moment the ash cloud is moving east. But there is also rain, which means that the ash will be diluted. As the cloud has moved in over Scotland it has been possible to measure fallout and decide concentration, “ said Jesper Blomster, meteorologist at SMHI to TT.
It is still too early to say if the fallout will affect air traffic. According to SMHI it will depend on the concentration of ash in the cloud.
And according to Blomster, it is only at the highest concentration of ash that air traffic is affected. He thinks that is unlikely to reach other big airports than Gothenburg’s Landvetter and Vänersborg’s airport in Trollhättan.
“The high level of ash concentration is estimated to reach Landvetter, and a medium level Trollhättan, but at the moment it doesn’t look like other airports will be affected,” Blomster told TT.
According to Blomster a lower concentration of ash will most likely reach Swedish cities Karlstad, Örebro, Linköping, Norrköping, Halmstad andÄngelholm on Tuesday.
The greater Stockholm area may be affected later in the week, according to a SMHI estimate.
The cloud of ash has already reached Norway. Medium levels of ash is expected over the south-western parts of the country and has made airplanes and helicopters from airports Stavanger and Karmoey be grounded from 8 am Tuesday morning.
“We never thought that the ash would reach us so quickly but strong westerly winds has brought it here,” said Norwegian airport operator Avinor’s CEO Dag Falk-Pedersen to Norwegian TV.
According to Swedish airport operator Swedavia, it is still not certain whether the clouds of ash will affect Swedish air traffic.
“From the latest information we received Arlanda will not be affected, but some domestic destinations might, depending on how the ash spreads,” Anders Bredfell, head of information at Swedavia Arlanda told daily Svenska Dagbladet (SvD).
The eruption of the Grimsvötn volcano in south-east Iceland is reported to be more extensive than the eruption of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano in 2010 which caused weeks of air travel chaos across Europe.
When Eyjafjallajökull erupted, 375 airports were closed and 100,000 flights were cancelled all over Europe. Despite the severity of this year’s eruption, it is unlikely that the same will occur this time, according to Bredfell.
“Today we won’t prohibit flying through the ash-affected areas to the same extent as we did a year ago,“ Bredfell told SvD.
However, Bredfell added that it is impossible to make any sweeping prognoses as these situations can change very quickly.
At Scandinavian Airlines (SAS), they are hopeful that air traffic will be able to carry on uninterrupted.
“So far it is looking good, but we will just have to see how it develops over the day, “ said Malin Selander of the SAS information department to SvD.