Words fail me

Unpredictability defined

No, not a post about England’s rise to be the number one Test Cricket team in the world, that is to come. Instead this very brief article refers to a piece on the BBC that, in turn, cites a paper in Geology entitled A 7000 yr perspective on volcanic ash clouds affecting northern Europe (you will need to have a subscription, or belong to an institution that does to read the full text but the abstract is freely available).

The BBC’s own take on this is summed up in the title of their bulletin, Another giant UK ash cloud ‘unlikely’ in our lifetimes. My fervent hope is that this is lazy, or ill-informed, journalism rather than a true representation of what is in the peer-reviewed journal (perhaps all the main BBC journalists are on holiday and the interns are writing the copy). To state the obvious, in general, the fact that something happens every 56 years does not guarantee that the events are always 56 years apart.

For a more cogent review of predicting volcanic erruptions, see my earlier post, Patterns patterns everywhere.