Bali volcano update: Where could the volcanic ash cloud go? Will it reach Australia?

Bali volcano update: Smoke rising from Mount Agung

Bali volcano update: Smoke is rising from Mount Agung
Nearly 145,000 people have been evacuated after Mount Agung started sending out white smoke and causing volcanic earthquakes.

The eruption of Mount Agung is expected to fire giant plumes of ash and hot rock up to 20km into the sky, creating a massive ash cloud.

David Pyle, professor of earth sciences at Oxford University, said the direction of the winds at the time of eruption will decide where the ash cloud goes.

He told “At the moment it looks as though there’s more chance of the ash cloud ending up going south rather than north.”

Volcanic Ash Advisory Centres (VAAC) around the world will begin forecasting Mount Agung’s ash cloud using real wind patterns when Mount Agung erupts.

Forecasts will be update on VAAC’s worldwide map.

Could the Bali volcano ash cloud reach Australia?

With all signs pointing towards an eruption, Australians are preparing for the possible arrival of volcanic ash from across the sea.

Mr Pyle believes the ash could reach Australia if the explosion is powerful enough. He said: “It will depend on how strong the eruption is and how long it lasts.

“At the moment, with the way that atmospheric winds are, if there is an eruption that is as strong as the 1963 eruption – which had an ash column of 20km – then the very fine ash cloud would eventually move across Indonesia towards Australia.


Mount Agung in BaliGETTY

Bali volcano latest: Mount Agung could pump volcanic ash to Australia

“The main impact of the ash cloud would be that aircraft wouldn’t fly through it. There would be disruption to air traffic, but ash clouds move quite slowly with the winds and that movement is predictable.”

Will the Bali volcano ash cloud cancel flights?

There have not yet been any flight cancellations between Bali and Australia but some planes will be stopping at Darwin to refuel as a precaution.

I Gusti Ngurah Rai airport will need to be closed if Mount Agung erupts.

International flights will instead land at 10 other airports such as Jakarta, Makassar, Surabaya, Balikpapan, Solo, Ambon, Manado, Praya, Kupang and Banyuwangi.

Singaporean airlines have decided to carry additional fuel but are operating as normal.

All airlines that fly between the UK and Bali are operating as usual and tourist visas will be extended should Agung explode.

Gee Swantika, from the Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, fears an eruption could happen at “any time”.

He said: “Smoke could continue for the next few days or weeks, but an eruption could also happen at any time given its condition is very critical.”

The Indonesian Government insists that it is safe to travel everywhere in Bali, apart from Mount Agung.