UK no-fly zone
Philip Miller Tate
Philmt59 at aol.com
Sat Apr 17 05:52:20 CDT 2010
Hi, fellow Taconians
It's rather strange to be living in an area south-west of London,
less than 30 minutes' drive from Heathrow airport, without the
constant sounds of aircraft flying overhead. It would be hard to put
your finger on what is different if it weren't for the constant
headline news of the volcanic ash coming over from the Icelandic
volcano. It's somewhat reassuring, though, to see nature doing an
infinitely better job of polluting our air than we can with aircraft.
Of course, as an alternative to our recent diet of general election
politics, the media are loving it. There was an amusing exchange on
the TV news the night before last, which I shall paraphrase for the
sake of brevity:
Announcer: Well, the no-fly regulations will persist until at least
7.00 am tomorrow, although some experts are suggesting that, in fact,
they may continue for as long as another 48 hours. We have a senior
meteorologist on the line...
M: Good evening.
A: Good evening. What are the latest forecasts?
M: Well, as you know, this situation is almost unprecedented, so it
is difficult to forecast with any certainty, but...
A: Another 48 hours?
A: Three days?
M: Like I said, the situation is difficult to predict, but the
prevailing winds over Northern Europe are not expected to change for
the foreseeable future. The problem could persist for five days or
more... Maybe a week.
A: Well, thank you. There you have it - maybe as long as a week.
[Five minute studio discussion on economic effects, damage to airline
revenue, stranded passengers etc.] We are now going live to Iceland
to discuss the eruptions with a leading scientist.
S: Good evening.
A: Good evening. A senior meteorologist has suggested the problem
could persist for almost a week. What are the signs over there?
S: Well, this situation is almost unprecedented, but the current
evidence is that the eruptions are getting stronger, not weaker, and
there is no shortage of ash that could be spewed out - this process
could continue for weeks...
A: For weeks? Or even months?
S: It's perfectly possible.
A: Well, thank you. [Another five minute studio discussion on
economic effects, damage to airline revenue, stranded passengers
etc.] We are fortunate to be joined in the studio by Professor Blah,
a leading expert volcanologist who has specialized in studying
Icelandic volcanoes, now retired. Good evening, Professor.
V: Good evening.
A: We understand that the current situation is almost unprecedented...
V: Well, not entirely without precedent, but certainly rare. The last
time there was a major incidence of Icelandic volcanic ash emission
being blown across Northern Europe was in 1821.
A: Do we know how long it lasted?
V: Yes. Until 1823.
[You could almost hear the sound of British Airways executives
rushing to telephone their stockbrokers and unload their shares.]
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