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冰島火山爆發 歐洲航班大亂

2010年04月17日
摘譯自2010年4月15日ENS英國,倫敦報導;段譽豪編譯;蔡麗伶審校

冰島艾雅法拉(Eyjafjallajokull)火山爆發所產生的高聳火山灰已經遍及歐洲北部大部分地區,造成8個歐洲國家航班癱瘓。

冰島南部的火山上一次大規模噴發發生在1821至1823年間,總共持續了兩年之久。

現在火山灰已經上升到大西洋上方8公里的高度。火山灰距離美國大西洋岸到歐洲的航線很近。

飛行員不能駕機穿越火山飛灰,因為這些岩石粉末與玻璃碎屑會在飛機的發動機溶解,使動力喪失。火山飛灰也會損壞飛機的電子、液壓、通風與資料系統。火山飛灰所含中的二氧化硫也會使得飛機受到腐蝕。

負責交通運輸的歐盟委員會副主席卡拉斯(Siim Kallas)於15日表示「火山飛灰對飛航安全造成極大的威脅,國際有關當局必須在國際法的規範下,做出確保安全的決定。例如在航空公司間沒有歧視的前提下關閉領空與機場。」

「在這種情況下,機場與負責航管的機關已採取十分迅速與適當的行動,來保障公眾安全。在全歐洲的層級,特別是歐洲飛航安全組織(Eurocontrol)之中,我們有良好的協調和合作機制。」卡拉斯說。

「這是一個造成旅客在全歐洲旅行非常困難的情況,這個狀況非常特殊。不論如何,重要的是要提醒旅客與航空公司,歐盟旅客權益在這種情形下確實受到保障,」卡拉斯說。

歐洲飛航安全組織說,15日抵達歐洲的主要北大西洋東行航線受到些許影響。

15日下午的西行航線則已往南遷移,以避開火山飛灰,但預計航班交通仍然會受到影響。

航空交通服務提供者包括機場當局、航空公司以及歐洲飛航安全組織的中央流量管理單位定時舉行遠距會議,以提供各方空中交通的狀況。

艾雅法拉是冰島的一個小型冰川,高度1,666公尺。此次的爆發是由3月初的一系列地震,以及3月20日的一個小型爆發所引發。

周三的噴發位於艾雅法拉最高峰之下,在火山口的南部邊緣。冰島氣象局說,「目前沒有發現熔岩,但山區北部與南部都有融水流動。」

由於河水水位上升了3公尺,冰島當局在冰川附近疏散了大約800位居民。

該地區前一次爆發融解了冰川並引發洪水,但科學家說,目前噴發的區域乃是由冬季的雪所覆蓋,而不是永久性的冰。

Iceland's Volcanic Ash Plume Grounds Planes Across Europe
LONDON, UK, April 15, 2010 (ENS)

A towering cloud of volcanic ash from the erupting Eyjafjallajokull volcano in Iceland has spread across much of northern Europe, halting air traffic in eight European countries.

The last major eruption of this volcano in southern Iceland lasted for two years - from 1821 to 1823.

Today, the ash plume rises at least eight kilometers (five miles) above the Atlantic Ocean. The plume is near the flight paths for most routes from the United States Atlantic coast to European destinations.

Pilots can never fly through clouds of volcanic ash because these bits of pulverized rock and glass can melt in aircraft engines, causing power loss. The ash can damage aircraft electronic, hydraulic, ventilation, and data systems. Sulfur dioxide, another product of volcanoes also carried within the ash clouds following an eruption, is corrosive to aircraft.

European Commission Vice President Siim Kallas, who is responsible for transport said today, "The volcanic ash cloud is a very significant threat to air safety. National authorities are required to take decisions to ensure safety under international law, such as closure of airspace and airports, without discrimination between airlines."

"In this case, the airports and those responsible for air traffic control have taken very swift and appropriate action to safeguard the public. And there is excellent co-ordination and co-operation at European level, notably within Eurocontrol," said Kallas.

"This is a situation which is causing immense difficulties for passengers travelling throughout Europe. It can be considered a very exceptional circumstance. Nevertheless, it is important to remind passengers and airlines that EU passenger rights do apply in this situation," Kallas said.

Eurocontrol, the European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation, said that today's main north Atlantic east bound flow of aircraft arrived at European airports with little disruption.

Routes to handle the afternoon westbound flow have been moved to the south to avoid the volcanic ash zone, but it is expected that this flow of traffic will be disrupted.

Regular teleconferences attended by air navigation service providers, airport authorities, airlines and Eurocontrol's Central Flow Management Unit are being held to advise all parties of the status of air traffic.

At 1,666 meters (5,465 feet) in height, Eyjafjallajokull is one of Iceland's smaller glaciers. The current eruption was preceded by a series of earthquakes starting in early March, and a small eruption on March 20.

Wednesday's eruption is below the highest peak of Eyjafjallajokull, at the southern rim of the caldera. The Icelandic Met Office says, "No lava is seen yet but melt-water flows both north and south of the mountain."

Icelandic authorities evacuated some 800 residents from around the glacier as rivers rose by up three meters (10 feet).

Previous eruptions in the area have caused flooding due to the melting of glacial ice, but scientists say the current eruption is in an area covered by winter snow, not permanent ice.