Large volcanic eruptions

According to last night’s Met Office and Climategate forecast, we are due to have some very active volcanic activity in the next few hours:


This is the North Atlantic as of midnight 22 March 2014. It is an Analysis Chart thus is based on very accurate data since the North Atlantic is one of the most detailed regions of meteorological study. The most interesting aspect in it is the absence of a very large sympathetic cyclone blocking the Atlantic Approaches. We always get a Blocking Low whenever there is a Typhoon or Hurricane. Since there is a very powerful one at the time of writing Gillian, a Cat 2 at the moment and slated to make a Cat 4 late on the 23rd GMT, there should be a very large cyclone filling the chart above.


Where is it?

The British Isles are covered with black fronts in what the older MetOffice fronts description called thunder fronts but is now described as troughing. They also indicate that the planet is about to get a series of volcanic eruptions noticeably more energetic that normal back-ground activity. The Smithsonian Archives show a list of volcanic eruptions by date. The last column in the list indicates what they call Volcanic Explosivity Index or VEI. There were only 7 eruptions in 2013 that failed to reach VEI 1 or more. None reached past 3. Today’s might:


The forecast for midnight 23 March (the time of writing) shows a large number of these fronts all over the chart.

I can’t remember seeing one like it but then I have only been looking for a short while. I am pretty sure that when Gillian goes into decline there will be a magnificent display of ash somewhere or other.

I have no idea where though.


I dare say that f we could follow the various fronts in the chart above and compare them to where the previous chart’s fronts led, we might gain some idea where to expect the eruptions.

On some chart like this one perhaps:


The North American Ensemble Forecast System, though, are the most informative for our present meagre state of knowledge:


The first chart in the series shows a line of Lows from off British Colombia through Mexico to Central America, so perhaps it will start somewhere in the Caribbean?

The annoying thing about this site is that it opens in the wrong chart type. I now have to explain how to find the ones shown. > chart type > Pressure at sea level.

Simple enough once you get the hang of it but until your computer gets the cookies you have to continue to fish around for it.

Wouldn’t you think that with the computing skills a meteorological agency has at its disposal they could include the chart type in the URL?

Too busy counting parts per million of carbon dioxide obviously the stupid clots!

Fat lot of good that will do anyone.

It has gone midnight and some and I want to go to bed but no I have to sort out piddly little things like opening charts for newbies. I think the people running that show must be Sooty and Sweep. Ah well on with this one.

There are a lot of lines of Highs and Lows in the animation. One alone signifies a large earthquake and several a volcanic episode.


It is difficult to know what to make of the t+48. I am dying to say Chile but the front running down Western Europe stops short of everywhere?

So maybe it is in Europe the big activity takes place?


and what is the name of that island in the Norwegian Sea?

And if you live in the USA watch out for tornadoes while you are at it.

(I love this job, so rewarding!)

That’s it. I am tired and just hit the wrong button. I though I had just lost this whole post until I found where the draughts are stored. But I am too upset to continue now. Besides, it is showing as an edit this page rather than the New Post page. So I can’t add pictures easily.

And I am going to go to bed.

Bugger it. I will try again later tomorrow.

I opened a New Post thread and imported the rest of the charts. It is almost  time that the MetO&Cg release last midnight’s effort but I will be going out around that time.

Maybe later.



I wonder how unusual it is for an elongated Low like the one between Greenland and Britain to last this long?


It started out as three Lows in a row. Opinion is for Iceland and or Sinabung.  No ash advisories for anything in Iceland yet though.


Here we have a line of fronts equally spaced and all on the same latitude. I wonder what that spacing would sound like if it was a chord. There is also a tripartite of Lows, in case you think I didn’t notice last night. (I only just noticed ;~)

I did look to see if anything resembling a tornadic set up was showing and of course there is. I find it very difficult to distinguish between the patterns as it happens.

Maybe when it happens I will see what I missed. (I always do.)

In today’s Met Office And Climategate chart, those earthquake signals appear in the noon chart of the first day:


That is about the time that Gillian reached Cat 3 according to Unisys:

Date: 21-23 MAR 2014
Cyclone-3 GILLIAN
  7  -9.60  108.20 03/21/06Z   35     - TROPICAL STORM
  8 -10.00  106.10 03/21/18Z   40     - TROPICAL STORM
  9 -10.30  105.00 03/22/06Z   55     - TROPICAL STORM
 10 -12.30  104.40 03/22/18Z   90     - CYCLONE-2
 11 -13.70  103.60 03/23/06Z  110     - CYCLONE-3

+12 -15.20  103.00 03/23/18Z  110     - CYCLONE-3
+24 -16.30  102.60 03/24/06Z  100     - CYCLONE-3
+36 -17.30  102.20 03/24/18Z   85     - CYCLONE-2
+48 -18.20  101.70 03/25/06Z   55     - TROPICAL STORM
+72 -19.50  100.10 03/26/06Z   40     - TROPICAL STORM

TSR have it as:


It drops off the threshold that makes a Typhoon a super-typhoon, i.e. one unmeasurable by classical methods. (The SF system continues the Beaufort scale by means of satellite imagery.)


Just for the look of the thing I have added the following two animations. Look at the lines of Low pressure systems running top left to bottom right through most of the NAEFS charts.

(I don’t know why I collect the full run as the modern forecast falls over after 5 days. Especially one that has intensive manual correction or interference.

The BoM of course is a different kettle of fish:


Black masses mean one of three or four things. Earthquakes, tornadoes or tropical storms. It depends how far they are from the Antarctic coast when they fade away.

Volcanoes of course we are still studying.

There are signals that tropical storms occur in one form or another all through this period until next week (Sunday 30 March 2014.)

Posted on 25 March 2014:




That pattern between Britain and Greenland (t = 00) has been there since I can’t remember when. It is not a classic Icelandic Low but is behaving like one. The more usual function when the previous eruption I have seen occurred is that the Low is built of three or so central parts each contra-rotating about one another. It all disappears for the next chart (t+12.)

By noon today the chart shows a significant Low on the Newfoundland track they can normally be found on but in this case I expect it to go north up the fast track to the Arctic through the Davis Straight. The charts show it continuing east with a compromise at t+24 where it floods Greenland at t+24 through t+48 after which it just disappears (replaced by an High (t+60) where did that come from?)

T+24 two Highs are pushing north. I saw a system pushing into North America a few days ago. I never followed the model but that Low at the mouth of the Davis Straight came up across Mexico and Florida if I’m any guesser. So it hugged the coast all the way up, I have no idea why. And it will continue to do so for the remainder of the spell which ended …. oh… wait.

I don’t think the blue and the red fronts in the middle of the t+36 chart mark the demise of a storm although even out in the Pacific storms can just fade and die. Another thing is that with a new spell you get new weather systems and this is showing up on these charts quite clearly (for days!) (the symbols with plus signs mean new fronts. And/or something has/is fallen/ing apart.)

T+48 the High has filled most of the Western North Pacific up to those two fronts.

What is it with them?

And what is keeping that Low off Greenland?

The time of the phase is roughly the same as for the 1 March according to NASA. Although a particularly noted time for eruptions it is more a Tornado Spell. Beggars are not choosers but activity is slightly higher than normal in some hills. Not what I was expecting but enough to tell us what is inside the things. All volcanic eruptions  go hand in hand with years of singularly wet weather. This is in keeping with folklore about their effects. (It is JUST folklore, folk, remember that.)

T+60 and the High has elongated meanwhile the Lows curl up and die. It is always on the cyclonic side of the 1016 millibar line that compression takes place. Ever noticed that?

All the fronts meet there and Hight are just the tail ends of them. Never wonder why?

T+72 and that Low at Newfoundland looks impressive but it is only a 972 MB. The fact is nearly everywhere is anticyclonic, it just doesn’t look like it for some reason. And finally the High gets past the gatekeepers and into the Arctic. It has just passed between two Lows. That will be interesting -if it happens.


8 thoughts on “Large volcanic eruptions

  1. I keep getting advised to “Co Promote” (whatever that means) my posts on here. Usually I can’t get further than clicking on the button shown. Today I got as far as this advisory:

    “Something Went Wrong!

    If this problem persists contact support, or visit” to create your promotion.

    Time for me to go to bed.

  2. The five most recent messages are listed first, followed by an alphabetical listing by volcano name. Where available, graphics are attached to the Volcanic Ash Advisories.
    Advisories Last Updated: Sat Mar 22 21:24:13 UTC 2014

    Most recent five messages, regardless of volcano:
    22 Mar 2014 – 2123 UTC — COLIMA 341040 MEXICO
    22 Mar 2014 – 1537 UTC — COLIMA 341040 MEXICO — (JPEG Only) (KML)
    20 Mar 2014 – 0627 UTC — COLIMA 341040 MEXICO
    20 Mar 2014 – 0050 UTC — COLIMA 341040 MEXICO — (JPEG Only) (KML)
    20 Mar 2014 – 0037 UTC — COLIMA 341040 MEXICO

    COLIMA 1401-04 MEXICO:
    22 Mar 2014 – 2123 UTC
    22 Mar 2014 – 1537 UTC– Has JPEG/KML (JPEG Only) (KML)
    20 Mar 2014 – 0627 UTC
    20 Mar 2014 – 0050 UTC– Has JPEG/KML (JPEG Only) (KML)
    20 Mar 2014 – 0037 UTC
    13 Mar 2014 – 0144 UTC
    12 Mar 2014 – 2018 UTC– Has JPEG/KML (JPEG Only) (KML)

    15 Mar 2014 – 1416 UTC
    15 Mar 2014 – 0824 UTC– Has JPEG/KML (JPEG Only) (KML)
    15 Mar 2014 – 0309 UTC– Has JPEG/KML (JPEG Only) (KML)
    15 Mar 2014 – 0243 UTC– Has JPEG/KML (JPEG Only) (KML)
    14 Mar 2014 – 2343 UTC– Has JPEG/KML (JPEG Only) (KML)
    11 Mar 2014 – 1850 UTC
    11 Mar 2014 – 1424 UTC
    11 Mar 2014 – 1349 UTC
    11 Mar 2014 – 1312 UTC
    11 Mar 2014 – 1252 UTC
    10 Mar 2014 – 1436 UTC
    10 Mar 2014 – 0843 UTC
    10 Mar 2014 – 0253 UTC
    09 Mar 2014 – 2055 UTC
    09 Mar 2014 – 2028 UTC
    07 Mar 2014 – 0023 UTC
    06 Mar 2014 – 1840 UTC

    17 Mar 2014 – 1900 UTC

    Messages kept here for 15 Days

  3. “Black masses mean one of three or four things. Earthquakes, tornadoes or tropical storms. It depends how far they are from the Antarctic coast when they fade away.”

    This has to be the most interesting question in science. More so than the one Enrico Fermi showed and the sophisticated world went daft chasing for a few years, the atomic bomb.
    It’s on a par with Noah’s flood in my opinion.

    Answer that and we have cracked the science wide open. There will be no more secrets in any branch of geo-physics.

  4. And finally with two large conjoined anticyclones in the middle of North America the weather there should be getting pretty grim. I’d say that was the final warning by there is a little break away on the BoM chart that is due to run around the coast of Antarctica.

    That is coming from a deep low injection from somewhere just off Africa. (Gillian is on the other side of the ocean.) The odd thing about the situation is that the cyclone formed from it reaches to Australia in an elongation of the whole banding, then it appears to go on and feed the set up.
    The complete ring of isobars around the place looks like it is in to stay. IIRC this time last month was the last appreciable eruption but there was a very large eruption at around the 1st or 2nd of February.
    Videos available from USA today.

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