Eruption of Iceland’s Bardarbunga Volcano

September 2, 2014

An increased seismic activity of Bár?arbunga, one of the largest volcanoes in Iceland which is covered in permanent ice almost a kilometre thick, at the end of August, has posed threat to European air traffic.
Melting of huge amounts of ice caused by eruption would lead to potential floods in the foot of the volcano and surrounding regions, while the presence of a large amount of volcanic ash could cause disruption to air traffic.
Eurocontrol as a network manager has been monitoring the course of events and informing the aviation community of the volcano status over the last couple of weeks.
At volcanic eruptions, reduced visibility is not so hazardous to air traffic, since aircraft are today equipped with high-quality navigation systems, as opposed to volcanic ash particles which can damage or congest sensitive parts of the aircraft engines.
At the international level, designated ICAO Volcanic Ash Advisory Centres (ICAO-VAAC) monitor volcanic activity and forecast movement of volcanic ash clouds, and the London VAAC (within the British national meteorological office) is responsible for monitoring the activity of Icelandic volcanoes.
Since volcanic ash can affect air traffic, national providers of aeronautical meteorological services are responsible for issuing advisories to all air traffic stakeholders (WV SIGMET). In Croatia it is the obligation of Croatia Control Ltd, and it issues advisories in case of occurrence of volcanic ash and potential restrictions in Croatian air traffic.