KVERT Volcanic Warnings Ceased

1 March 1, 2007

Dear colleagues:

It has come to our attention that as of January 1, 2007, the Federal Unitary Enterprise State Air Traffic Management Corporation of Russia halted financial support for the Kamchatka Volcanic Eruption Response Team (KVERT). Attempts to negotiate renewal of the annual funding agreement by KVERT leadership have thus far failed. As a result, on March 1, KVERT will cease issuing volcanic warnings to the aviation community.

This unfortunate event comes at a time when three volcanoes in Kamchatka are at Color Code Orange and intermittently producing ash. For 14 years, KVERT staff and affiliated scientists have alerted regional ACCs, MWOs, Volcanic Ash Advisory Centers (VAACs), and numerous air carriers to the onset of volcanic unrest. KVERT's vigilance and volcanologic and technical expertise has resulted in many hundreds of accurate and timely ash cloud warnings. It is a testimony to the success of KVERT and its international collaborations that during this time period of significant volcanic activity in Kamchatka, we are aware of no damaging ash-aircraft encounters among the many hundreds of thousands of flights through the region.

We do not know official reasons for this action, which, unfortunately, has occurred before in KVERT's history. In response, KVERT and AVO have alerted International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) representatives who have contacted the State Air Traffic Management Corporation in Moscow to express concern and urge restoration of funding.

During a period of reduced KVERT operations, the Alaska Volcano Observatory will continue its own routine, daily satellite monitoring of Kamchatka and we will issue hazard warnings to our interagency partners to the best of our ability. However, AVO does not have direct access to seismic or other ground-based monitoring and observational data for Russia, and thus warnings and notifications may not be as timely, accurate, or
complete as those routinely provided by KVERT.

Thomas L. Murray
Scientist in Charge, AVO