Given the seriousness of the volcanic ash hazard, the International Airways Volcano Watch was born under the impulse and aegis of ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) with the co-operation of numerous states and several international organizations among which WMO (World Metorological Organization). In the current status of airborne equipment, the airborne weather radars do not detect but very rarely volcanic ash clouds. The location of these particular clouds must therefore be imperatively communicated to the pilots in-flight by using special safety messages regularly updated. These alert messages (volcanic ash SIGMET) are issued by a meteorological watch office (MWO) for its area of responsability (Flight Information Region).

With the support of both ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization ) and WMO (World Météorological Organization), an international workshop on volcanic ash organized and hosted by METEO-FRANCE was held from 2003 Monday Sept 29 to Friday Oct 03 in the International Conference Centre of LA METEOPOLE, Toulouse, gathering numerous participants, coming from VAAC operations VAAC and from Research.

A lot of issues among which remote sensing techniques and volcanic ash dispersion modelling were discussed. The final report is available in pdf format. Click on the opposite picture.