The Eruption of the Eyjafjallajokull

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Not only economic of European countries suffered from the eruption of the Eyjafjallajokull. It has a strong impact on import and export of goods, such as food and flowers, which depend on air freight. For example, Kenya (a big flower importer to the UK) was losing about 3.8 million dollars a day during the period of flight cancellations to Europe.

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The eruption also has an impact on politicians and royalty. A number of world leaders, politicians and businessmen had to postpone planned trips due to the closure of airspace. Several world leaders, including Angela Merkel, Barack Obama and Nicolas Sarkozy, cancelled their plans to attend funeral of President of Poland Lech Kaczynski and his wife Maria Kaczynska.

The eruption of the Eyjafjallajokull wasnt big enough (compared, for example, with the eruption of the Tambora volcano, 1815) to cause global changes in the Earths climate, but still there were some environmental consequences. Cloud of the volcanic ash and dust that had limited air travel settled on European fields and water systems. On the one hand the cloud was fatal to many plant species since it prevents photosynthesis. On the other hand the eruption had a positive impact on the ocean phytoplankton (Impact of, 2013). Dissolved iron is essential for the growth of phytoplankton in seas south of Iceland. In recent years there has been shown a lack of iron in this area. The volcanic ash which covered the ocean supplied phytoplankton with the iron. Nevertheless the effect was short-lived and it resulted in the rapid removal of biological nitrate, which lead to the nitrogen limitation of the phytoplankton growth.

Except ash and dust all volcanoes during their eruptions produce carbon dioxide (CO2) and sulfur dioxide (SO2), which are known as greenhouse gases. Cindy Werner, an analyst with the U.S. Geological Survey, believes that volcanoes don't emit enough carbon dioxide to cause significant changes in the Earths climate and to have impact on the process of global warming (Stone, 2010). Nevertheless, the eruption of the Eyjafjallajokull had the impact on the global warming, and the impact was positive because of the closure of airspace. Work of the airplane industry results in the releasing of high amount of CO2 into the atmosphere. According to Environmental Transport Association (as cited in Adam, 2010) during the period from 15 to 19 April travel ban prevented the emission of 2.8 million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. As a result, the amount of the CO2 released by the eruption was dwarfed by the savings. The volcano has emitted about 150,000 tons of carbon dioxide per day.

In conclusion it should be said that the eruption itself didnt have a significant impact on the Earths climate, some of the effect was even positive. The most effective damage has been caused to the economy of European countries and also countries all over the world only because of the volcano localization. Spreading of cloud of volcanic ash on most European countries led to the closure of airspace. As a result, billions of dollars were lost by airline industry and some other industries.


Adam, D. (2010, April 19). Iceland Volcano Causes Fall In Carbon Emissions As Eruption Grounds Aircraft. The Guardian. Retrieved from:

Iceland Volcano Cloud: The Economic Impact. (2010, April 20). Business. BBC News. Retrieved from:

Calkins, J., Nattrass, C., Harris, E., Detienne, M., Myers, N., van der Berg, L., Delmelle, P. (2011). Environmental Impacts of Ash Deposition Following the 2010 Eruption of Eyjafjallajokull Volcano, Iceland. Geophysical Research Abstracts, 13.

Impact of Iceland Volcano on Ocean Biology Assessed. (2013, March 20). National Oceanography Centre. NERC. Retrieved from:

Stone, D. (2010, April 21). The Environmental Effects of Iceland's Volcano. Tech & Science. Newsweek. Retrieved from:

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