15th April - Today's News: European Air Travel Suspended After Icelandic Eruption

Well the big breaking story today is the eruption at Eyjafjallajoekull hundreds evacuated after eruption as Icelandic volcanic ash alert grounds UK flights and also halts flights in northern Europe. And the BBC have also explained why a cloud of ash has grounded flights.

It's a good few years since this last happened and it's causing major disruption for the world's busiest airports. Worth noting too that this eruption may go on for some time so more problems likely. So far, no indication that nearby Katla is going to erupt, but that possibility remains.

Interestingly, a cold front looks set to cross Iceland tomorrow before pushing down towards the Scottish Highlands, where any rain or snow may well prove dirty with ash.

One upside is that we should get some good atmospheric effects, especially vibrant sunsets, over the coming days. Also worth looking out for a Bishop's ring.

Also as a result of this, I've found this useful (unofficial) realtime map of European flights - could be useful for the next chemtrail debate!

The other big weather news comes from India where at least 120 die as tornado hits Bihar, Bengal. Most reports describe this as a cyclone - which is often used generically in Asia and India for any strong wind. There is some doubt as to whether this actually was a tornado , or was maybe several tornadoes or something else.

Also, today, new research suggests Low solar activity linked to cold UK winters - and yes, solar activity is currently very low.

Finally, the Oxburgh Inquiry into Climategate has published it's report which can be read here. It concludes:
1. We saw no evidence of any deliberate scientific malpractice in any of the work
of the Climatic Research Unit and had it been there we believe that it is likely
that we would have detected it. Rather we found a small group of dedicated if
slightly disorganised researchers who were ill-prepared for being the focus of
public attention. As with many small research groups their internal procedures
were rather informal.

2. We cannot help remarking that it is very surprising that research in an area that
depends so heavily on statistical methods has not been carried out in close
collaboration with professional statisticians. Indeed there would be mutual
benefit if there were closer collaboration and interaction between CRU and a
much wider scientific group outside the relatively small international circle of
temperature specialists.

3. It was not the immediate concern of the Panel, but we observed that there were
important and unresolved questions that related to the availability of
environmental data sets. It was pointed out that since UK government adopted
a policy that resulted in charging for access to data sets collected by
government agencies, other countries have followed suit impeding the flow of
processed and raw data to and between researchers. This is unfortunate and
seems inconsistent with policies of open access to data promoted elsewhere in

4. A host of important unresolved questions also arises from the application of
Freedom of Information legislation in an academic context. We agree with the
CRU view that the authority for releasing unpublished raw data to third parties
should stay with those who collected it.
I don't think links to any media stories are necessary, but suffice to say some welcome the report, others don't - depending on which side of the science/faith spectrum they (or their readers) stand.


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