“The wind began to turn the ash cloud clockwise to the south”
Suárez indicated that the west component wind at high levels yesterday morning moved the “plume” of the ash cloud and sulfur dioxide from the Aridane Valley area to the east. For this reason, the particles were perceptible in some parts of the North of Tenerife.
According to the territorial delegate of the State Meteorological Agency, at noon yesterday the situation had already begun to improve, to the extent that the wind at high levels, between 1,500 and 3,000 meters, even at higher altitudes, had begun to change. orientation clockwise.
In the words of Suárez, that cloud arising from the eruption was expected to pass over the entire island of Tenerife, so it was not ruled out that it could also affect the Reina Sofía-Tenerife South airport. And in the day of this Saturday it was already contemplated that the accumulation of ash and sulfur dioxide would be directed in a North-South direction from the source of emission.
In the opinion of David Suárez, this new orientation of the cloud will promote a more favorable environment for the aeronautical activity of Tenerife and will even make the skies clearer also over La Palma airport, regardless of whether the Binter airlines or CanaryFly, for example, whether or not they carry out operations with this transport infrastructure.
“The composition of the volcano’s ash is made up of tiny rocks”
The pulmonologist Carlos Cabrera López, from the Doctor Negrín University Hospital in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, indicated that the composition of the ashes emitted by the volcano is different from those we know regularly, such as those coming, for example, from a fire forest. In Cabrera’s words, the ashes from the eruption are tiny rocks. In addition, gases such as sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide and carbon oxide also arrive in that cloud, “which act as irritants to the airways,” the specialist clarified.
Cabrera warned that if a person is exposed to large concentrations of gases and the aforementioned ash from the volcano, they can develop “respiratory symptoms.” In his opinion, the most frequent are “cough, chest tightness and choking crisis with chest noise.” These problems can become much more acute in those citizens who already have a chronic respiratory disease, such as asthma or COPD. Carlos Cabrera López pointed out that “it is well established that with the increase in atmospheric pollution produced by these gases and by the volcano’s own ash, visits to the Emergency Department and hospitalizations” of those affected are increasing.
In the opinion of this pulmonology professional, “it is best not to go near the volcano.” At the moment, the precautionary distance is between two and ten kilometers from the crater. The trade winds help dissolve concentrations of dangerous gases, Cabrera said.
In addition, he pointed out that “the ideal is also to wear FPP2 type masks, which protect from the ashes, but not from the gases, since these can pass through them.” This pulmonologist recommended looking at the website of the Ministry of Ecological Transition (Miteco) to see in real time the air quality index and to know when the pollution parameters are dangerous. And, finally, he invited to close doors and windows so as not to have direct contact with the aforementioned gases.