The hard-to-pronounce Icelandic volcano has been filling worldwide media headlines as of late. In case you haven’t yet had a chance to see the very impressive plume of ash and dust being given off, here’s a 2 minute video taken from a helicopter courtesy of the AP:
George Johnson asked in a Bloggingheads diavlog why it was that this particular volcano was getting such heavy attention, as opposed to others such as the 1995 eruption of the Soufrière hills volcano in Montserrat.
While George mentions that this volcano has been grounding flights from the Caribbean with its sporadic eruptions, I the explanation is pretty obvious when one looks at global flight patterns as illustrated by the Zurich School of Applied Statistics:
As you can see, there are really three major centers of air traffic: Europe, North America, and East Asia. This volcano has essentially crippled air travel throughout most of Europe, and it’s easy to see why in this illustration from the Norwegian Meteorological Office that has been uploaded to YouTube by Jonathan Crowe (found via John Hawks):
So one of the world’s biggest centers of air traffic has been grounded by this volcano, forcing those travelling about in Europe to get creative with their transportation. John Cleese, for instance, paid $5,100 for a taxi to Oslo in order to appear on a Norwegian talk show.