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Wind and rain to push ash cloud away

The worst of the ash cloud caused by the volcanic eruption in Iceland is over, the World Meteorological Organization in Geneva said on Tuesday.

“The eruption should no longer present a problem for airlines,” Herbert Puempel, head of the aeronautical meteorology division, said. “From a meteorological perspective, all indications are very positive regarding the second part of the week.”

The Federal Civil Aviation Office confirmed on Tuesday evening that the cloud no longer posed a threat after studying some 40 reports from both civilian and military pilots that revealed no signs of damage to their planes.

“Above 3,000 metres, it’s practically not there,” said Patick Hächler, a climatologist with MeteoSwiss, adding that the highest concentrations of ash are lingering between 1,500-2,500 metres in altitude.

The situation should continue to improve, Puempel said. Winds over Iceland will turn to the north, pushing the ash cloud toward the Arctic. A low pressure system will also likely bring rain and scrub lower altitudes of residue.

The ash cloud could drift toward the north Atlantic, Canada and the United States. That would not pose problems for intercontinental flights because pilots could fly over it safely.

Volcanologists also say magma is beginning to burble toward the surface of the volcano as well, meaning it is spewing less ash into the atmosphere.

Puempel also said the eruption is too “negligible” to have a lasting impact on the planet’s climate.

swissinfo.ch and agencies


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