Bang goes the theory, so what’s yours?

Thanks to Andrew for getting this blog started. I hope we can keep this going for a long time.

I tried very hard not to do it, but it looks like this is going to be yet another posting about the volcano.

Did anyone watch the BBC programme “Bang Goes the Theory”(series 2, ep 5) last week? If you did, then you might have had the pleasure of saying to the bored nonscientist sitting next to you “Hey, I know that guy”. That guy was Professor Stephen Mobbs, Director of NCAS. The show featured a segment filmed on location at Cranfield airport, where the FAAM Dornier aircraft was being prepared for a flight into the volcanic ash cloud. For the time being, you can still watch it on the iplayer.

The  presenter put an interesting question to Professor Mobbs. While looking at a lidar image which indicated the elevation of the ash cloud over the UK (see Robin Hogan’s ppt presententation again) , the presenter asked “Why is the layer of ash so narrow?”. After all, the volcano was ejecting a huge ash cloud through a very deep layer of the atmosphere. But when the cloud arrived over the UK, it appeared in just very shallow layer — at least it looked that way in the lidar image.

In an attempt to encourage participation on here, I’ll ask you to offer your answers. Put yourself in our NCAS Director’s shoes. What would you have said? (Go on undergraduates. I know you’re out there!)

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