Q. So, what do video and volcanos have in common?

A. They both start with the letter ‘v’ and they, they both make a lot of people change their travel plans and they both work to cool the planet.

volcano-plumeThe Icelandic volcano first made the news on Wednesday and Thursday of this past week as thousands of European flights were cancelled as the ash plume dissipated over Northern Europe. Modern aircraft and these ash plumes, which are made up of tiny rock and glass particles don’t mix very well. Recent experiences reported at the Guardian.co.uk and on the Wall Street Journal highlight the risk volcano plumes pose to aviation, which can’t detect the plume on their radar since there is no water particles present: they destroy the engine causing them to flame out.

Flame outs on all four 747 engines is disconcerting to say the least. Fortunately in the 1982 BA event, three of the four engines restarted during the gliding descent and the aircraft safely landed.

Business travel to and from Europe has ground to a halt. This is good news for rental telepresence suites such as AT&T and Tata Communications offerings, rental video suites from Regis and others, the equipment resellers and video managers. Audio conferencing services and systems will also see a spike in activities as business travelers try to compensate for no-travel with modern collaboration services.

On the cooling side:

The presence of such large quantities of reflective materials (glass and granite) has in the past made the earth temperatures cool a great deal. How much of an effect it will have will depend on how long the volcano continues to thrust its plume into the atmosphere. Here’s an interesting Wikipedia post on the summer of 1816 which created severe disruption of the agricultural economies of Europe and the USA.

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