Volcanic dust over Wales

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As you may already know - ash from an erupting volcano on Iceland is causing major disruption at airports across Britain today.

You can see an incredible satellite image of the eruption happening here.

Many flights have been cancelled as the ash cloud - between 20,000 to 35,000 ft high in the atmosphere, threatens the safety of airliners.

It's been reported that no air traffic will be permitted in or out of U.K Airspace from midday to 1800 BST on 15 April so the majority of UK airports are closed or closing including Cardiff International Airport.

The cloud of volcanic ash can clog up aircraft engines and reduce pilots visibility.

Clouds of smoke and ash coming from volcano in Iceland on 14 April

In the past, large volcanic eruptions have had a massive effect on our weather...

In 1815 a huge eruption on the Indonesian island of Sumbawa caused freak weather conditions throughout the world.

Mount Tambora spewed out massive amounts of sulphur dioxide which combined with water vapour to form a sulphuric acid mist that reflected sunlight away from the earth!

That caused such a drop in temperatures that 1816 became known as "the year with no summer".

Crops failed due to low daytime temperatures, late frosts and abnormally high rainfall which led to food riots, famine and disease.

Ireland had 142 days of rain that summer. France lost it's grape harvest and North America had snow in summer.

Fear not though - the current eruption on Iceland is relatively small so any changes in temperatures are likely to be insignificant.

Strong winds high in the atmosphere are carrying the ash towards us and rain would normally wash some of the dust down to the ground.

However, there is little chance of this happening now, as high pressure will keep things dry over the next couple of days and the ash will slowly disperse.

However, the ash cloud could lead to some stunning sunsets and sunrises! So keep a close eye on the sky over the next few days.

Take a look at our dramatic volcanic skies gallery


More on this story from BBC News Online

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