Japan earthquake and the UK Met Office role

Following the earthquake in Japan on Friday 11 March 2011, here is summary to clarify the roles and responsibilities of organisations around the world:

  • The Japan Meteorological Agency has responsibility for Japanese earthquakes, tsunami, nuclear and volcanic ash warnings.
  • The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) maintains a system of Regional Specialised Meteorological Centres (RSMCs) which, when requested, run their dispersion models in accordance with International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and WMO Procedures. Under this system the IAEA http://www.iaea.org/ is the lead authority in declaring the current activity as a radioactive release incident. Tokyo RSMC (Japan Meteorological Agency http://www.jma.go.jp/jma/indexe.html), Beijing RSMC (China) and  Obninsk RSMC (Russia) are the joint leads and authoritative sources for this event.
  • The Met Office both as an RSMC (Exeter RSMC) and as a World Area Forecast Centre has not issued any warnings regarding the incident in Japan although it does have ICAO responsibilities to keep the aviation industry informed that an incident is occurring.

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