Page last updated at 12:16 GMT, Tuesday, 20 April 2010 13:16 UK

Forecast wind shift may blow volcanic ash from Europe


BBC weather forecaster Jay Wynne with the latest on the volcanic ash cloud

A change in wind direction by the weekend could help blow Iceland's volcanic ash cloud away from Europe, a BBC meteorologist says.

North-westerly winds over the Atlantic have blown ash from an erupting volcano over the UK and Europe this week.

Much of the continent's airspace has been closed for fear the ash will damage plane engines.

BBC Weather's Matt Taylor warned ash blown away from Europe could cause problems for Canada instead.

Wind direction map

"Weather conditions should be more favourable by the end of the week," Matt Taylor said.

A new high-pressure system will form in the Atlantic by the weekend.

"The wind should change to the opposite direction: it could start to disperse some of the stuff that has been blown over from Iceland," Mr Taylor said.

"As we move from Friday into the weekend, we will start to see south and south-westerly winds. Even if there is any fresh eruption, the ash should not be blown over the UK."

The weather pattern should continue to blow the ash cloud away into next week, Mr Taylor said.

But a respite for the UK and Europe means bad news elsewhere as the prevailing wind is more easterly north of Iceland.

"It means that ash will circulate over north-east Canada and the North Atlantic," Mr Taylor added.

However ash will continue to fall on Europe. "It is up there in the atmosphere, and factors like gravitational pull and rainfall will bring it back down."

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