British Geological Survey (BGS) geoscientists are asking Britons to help them map the ash from the Grimsvotn volcano.
BGS scientist Aoife O'Mongain said the group has developed a simple online questionnaire with questions like: ‘Have you seen ash/dust on your car windscreen?’ and ‘Have you smelt sulphur (rotten eggs)?’ which should help map the ash’s reach.
“There is a short time window for ash observations for this eruption so any observations are welcomed, especially within the next 24 hours,” O'Mongain said.
A map showing real-time survey results can be viewed here on the BGS’ website.
The ash cloud from Grimsvotn volcano in Iceland belched as high as 20 km into the sky after the eruption on Saturday, but it did not trigger the kind of travel chaos caused by the country’s Eyjafjallajokull eruption last year, which caused a six-day European airspace shutdown and cost airlines $1.7 billion.
BGS said responses to the survey would help its scientists confirm the results of ash dispersion models on which flight cancellations are based.
Samples of ash are also being collected from across the country and will be analysed for more insight into the types of ash that are reaching Britain, it said.
David Rothery of Britain's Open University Volcano Dynamics Group said he was “cautiously optimistic” that “the main ash-producing phase of this eruption” had now come to an end.