Met Office in the News: 13 April 2011

Volcanic Eruption Test – The Met Office in its capacity as the Volcanic Ash advisory Centre London (VAAC London) is taking part in a european wide exercise to test changes and improvements in how the industry deals with volcanic ash incidents. This exercise, a routine twice yearly test, takes place today and tomorrow and is known as “VOLCEX 11/01”. It is organised by ICAO, the International Civil Aviation Organisation.

The exercise will simulate the eruption of the Grimsvötn volcano in Iceland.  The Met Office will be operating its Volcanic Ash advisory Centre, providing guidance on expected ash movement across the North Atlantic and across European airspace.  The exercise is then expected to test how regulators and airlines deal with the ash.

In the last year the Met Office have worked with the industry and regulator on a number of activities to increase preparedness to meet the challenges of a volcanic eruption of a similar nature as last years happening again.  Such work includes:

  • Providing a radar in Iceland that can be used to provide more information about any volcanic eruption
  • Increasing ground-based and air-borne observations such as mobile lidars, cloud base recorders, aerosol measuring weather balloons and lightning measurements
  • Working with the CAA to provide an additional ash measuring aircraft
  • Working with the industry to adapt outputs from the VAAC to meet the changing requirements of airlines and the regulators

Fukushima Incident – Ian Sample at the Guardian has written ‘Radiation spreads, but risk to the rest of world low‘.  The article describes our role in dispersion forecasting and our role in supporting the international community  in relation to the Fukushima incident.

Warm April? – The Daily Telegraph have today reported that this April is currently heading toward being the warmest spring on record.  In honesty, it is just too early to say how this April will fair in the record books, however the month has indeed start off very warm with record-breaking minimum temperatures in parts of Northern Ireland, Scotland and Northern England earlier in the month. Our 6 to 15 day forecast, which will cover most of the rest of April is available on our website.

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