With April fast-approaching, we are now reaching the one year anniversary of the 2010 Eyjafjallajökull eruption. Eyjafjallajökull is a volcano located in Southern Iceland which took the global spotlight when its ash plumes shut down air travel across Europe. Many were surprised when the volcano erupted, because it has been historically less active in comparison to Iceland’s numerous other volcanoes. The last eruption took place over the course of 14 months from 1821-1823. Yet, regardless of what was or was not expected, Eyjafjallajökull certainly erupted, and the media and various governments responded in a multitude of ways. With many sources having covered the eruption in detail, I saw it fit to take a look at the reaction to the eruption, and plume that surpassed 8 km on numerous occasions throughout April and May across Europe.
One of the many ways that the media responded was through political cartoons.
The worry proposed in this cartoon is that the ash plume would do serious damage to the environment. Though this provides an interesting topic for a cartoon, in the end, climatologists determined that the atmospheric effects would be short lived. This is not to say that the immediate effects were not devastating. Some stunning photographs of the eruption can be found here.
The reality painted in this cartoon, however, was far more real. Over three-quarters of European airspace was closed for a week. Thousands of flights and millions of airline passengers were affected. The financial loss for airline companies was approximately $2.8 billion. This does not even include the drop in tourism and other economic issues. Like the cartoon says, Eyjafjallajökull happens, and we can only hope that it doesn’t in the future, though that hope is likely fruitless.
By Khia Johnson, 3/29/11