Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Ash Strategy in Ashes.

Last year's Icelandic ash cloud caused huge amounts of chaos and we were assured "lessons will be learned". Yes, the old phrase that's all to often trotted out which we all know means "we hope it won't happen again because we don't see the sense in spending money on it".

Well, after spending a little money on ground based monitoring stations and a bit on computer modelling, (but noticeably no money on assets to sample the ash in the air) we find ourselves in the self same situation.

Obviously no lessons have been learned, because as EU Referendum reports, the one asset that could actually quantify the ash concentrations in real time is actually tasked elsewhere.

So instead we rely on those useless ground stations and even more useless computer models.

I still can't get my head around the reliance in so many scientific areas on computer models: they are not real life. Reality has a habit of throwing a curveball and not behaving in the orderly fashion of the modelled world, by still scientists that should know better treat them as providing gospel information.

Lets get this straight once and for all: computer models are only useful as guidelines to provide possible outcomes: they do not and cannot provide accurate actual outcomes. There will always be some variance between the computer model and reality and actual, real time data gathering needs to be done in order to provide the real picture.

This is where the argument between RyanAir and the CAA starts: the CAA can only give the results of data models and RyanAir can show no damage to their engines from what they say is non-existent ash. Without the sampling of air at altitude to see if the ash is in dangerous concentrations, both will claim they are right.

I wonder just who has sold all of this computer modelling to those in government? They must have been bloody good salesmen, because the mandarins in government have taken the bait hook line and sinker and believe that the data provided by the computers is unequivocal, to the detriment of real-world sampling assets.

Obviously the company supplying the monitoring aircraft need to bag themselves one of the computer salesmen, they maybe we'll have enough of them to provide continuous coverage.

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