Moving Toward a Globally Harmonized Volcanic Ash Forecast System: Anchorage and Tokyo VAAC Best Practices on Collaboration
Abstract:Since the eruption of Eyjafjallajökull in 2010, there has been an increased awareness on the need for better collaboration between the Volcanic Ash Advisory Centers (VAACs). Work through the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) International Airways Volcano Watch Operations Group (IAVWOPSG) and International Airways Volcano Task Force (IAVTF) brought increased awareness and focus to this challenge. A VAAC Best Practices group was formed out of these larger meetings and focused on VAAC specific issues of importance. Collaboration was one of the topics under consideration.
Some ideas and procedures for an effective, yet easy, method for the VAACs to collaborate have been discussed. Implementation has been mainly on a VAAC to VAAC basis, however a more consolidated process needs to be developed and agreed upon between all VAACs in order to successfully move toward harmonization.
Collaboration procedures and tools are being considered. The National Weather Service (NWS) Alaska Region has been looking at collaborative software to help the VAACs identify the presence of ash and forecast the plume both in the horizontal and vertical. Having an interactive graphical interface within the forecast operation may help to ensure consistency across VAAC boundaries. Existing chat software within NWS is being investigated to allow Tokyo and Anchorage VAAC to “chat” about forecast issues in real time. This capability is being tested through scenarios.
The Anchorage and Tokyo VAACs participated in a series of meetings in Tokyo in March 2014. Collaboration was a major topic of discussion. This paper will outline some of the efforts being undertaken between the Anchorage and Tokyo VAACs as a result of these meetings and subsequent dialogue.