Canada has had a formal volcanic ash notification network since early 1990. The Interagency Volcanic Event Notification Plan, "IVENP", was created following the near fatal encounter of a 747 passenger aircraft with ash from Mt. Redoubt, Alaska, in December of 1989. The Canadian Airline Pilots Association, brought the matter of aircraft safety and volcanoes to the floor of the Canadian Parliament where it was raised as an issue of significant concern. This concern, coupled with the threat of volcanic ash entering Canadian airspace, not only from Alaskan volcanoes, but also from the Cascade Magmatic Arc to the south (especially Washington and Oregon) and Canada's own history of volcanism, succeeded in generating a call to action. The Minister of Natural Resources Canada called upon his staff to create and maintain a plan. Work on the plan was started immediately and an early version was available to the original eight participating agencies by May 1990. Since that time the plan has been modified a number of times and the response to the three explosive 1992 eruptions of Mt. Spurr, Alaska, provided fertile grounds for testing the links and making modifications. Until 2004, Alaskan and Cascade volcanoes were relatively quiet, but renewed activity at Mt. St. Helens (starting in September of 2004) provided a critical new test of the plan. During the intervening years the plan had been kept current, but was not tested in a real eruption. One of the main challenges has been experienced by changing technology. Reliance on faxing in the 1990s, has been superseded by EMAIL and other electronic means of passing data. However, not all agencies have advanced in their digital capacity equally. The need for 24/7 vigilance and technologies that work under many differing circumstances for different agencies remains paramount. IVENP, if anything, has had to evolve into one which is even more flexible than originally conceived. Maintaining momentum, understanding agency mandates and capabilities, are all important to ensuring a functional effective notification plan resulting in timely action to avoid aircraft-ash confrontation and reducing the impact to people on the ground. Although we have improved various aspects of the plan after 16 years, there are still many things that remain a challenge.
AGU Fall Meeting Abstracts
- Pub Date:
- December 2006
- 6324 Legislation and regulations (6615);
- 8488 Volcanic hazards and risks;
- 8499 General or miscellaneous;
- 9350 North America