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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-2019-265
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-2019-265
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 12 Aug 2019

Submitted as: research article | 12 Aug 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences (NHESS).

A volcanic hazard demonstration exercise to assess and mitigate the impacts of volcanic ash clouds on civil and military aviation

Marcus Hirtl1,16, Delia Arnold1,2, Rocio Baro1, Hugues Brenot3, Mauro Coltelli4, Kurt Eschbacher5, Helmut Hard-Stremayer6, Florian Lipok7, Christian Maurer1, Dieter Meinhard7, Lucia Mona8, Marie D. Mulder1, Nikolaos Papagiannopoulos8, Michael Pernsteiner9, Matthieu Plu10, Lennart Robertson11, Carl-Herbert Rokitansky5, Barbara Scherllin-Pirscher1, Klaus Sievers12, Mikhail Sofiev13, Wim Som de Cerff14, Martin Steinheimer15, Martin Stuefer16, Nicolas Theys3, Andreas Uppstu13, Saskia Wagenaar14, Roland Winkler15, Gerhard Wotawa1, Fritz Zobl5, and Raimund Zopp17 Marcus Hirtl et al.
  • 1Zentralanstalt für Meteorologie und Geodynamik, Vienna, A-1190, Austria
  • 2Arnold Scientific Consulting, Manresa, 08242, Spain
  • 3Support to Aviation Control Service, BIRA-IASB, Brussels, B-1180, Belgium
  • 4Osservatorio Etneo, Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia, Catania, 95125, Italy
  • 5Department of Computer Sciences, University of Salzburg, Salzburg, 5020, Austria
  • 6Kommando Streitkräfte/FachstabLu/J3(Lu), RefLtr Luftraumüberwachung, St. Johann im Pongau/Betriebsstelle Plankenau, 5600, Austria
  • 7Brimatech Services GmbH, Vienna, A-1030, Austria
  • 8Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Istituto di Metodologie per l'Analisi Ambientale (CNR-IMAA), Tito Scalo (PZ), 85050, Italy
  • 9Joint Forces Command/Airstaff, Schwarzenbergkaserne, Wals, 5071, Austria
  • 10CNRM, Université de Toulouse, Météo-France, CNRS, Toulouse, 31057, France
  • 11Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute, Norrkoping, SE-601 76, Sweden
  • 12Klaus Sievers Aviation Weather, Lenggries, 83661, Germany
  • 13Atmospheric Composition Research, FMI, Helsinki, FI-00101, Finland
  • 14R&D Satellite Observations, KNMI, De Bilt, 3731 GK, Netherlands
  • 15Austro Control GmbH, Vienna Int. Airport, Schwechat, 1300, Austria
  • 16Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK 99775, USA
  • 17Flightkeys, Vienna, A-1070, Austria

Abstract. Volcanic eruptions comprise one of the most important airborne hazards for aviation. Although significant events are rare, they have a very high impact. The current state of tools and abilities to mitigate aviation hazards associated with an assumed volcanic cloud was tested within an international demonstration exercise. Experts in the field assembled at the Schwarzenberg barracks in Salzburg, Austria, in order to simulate the sequence of procedures for the volcanic case scenario of an artificial eruption of Etna volcano in Italy. The scope of the exercise ranged from the detection of the assumed event to the issuance of early warnings. Volcanic emission concentration charts were generated applying modern ensemble techniques. The exercise products provided an important basis for decision making for aviation traffic management during a volcanic eruption crisis. By integrating the available wealth of data, observations and modelling results directly into a widely used flight planning software, it was demonstrated that route optimization measures could be implemented effectively. With timely and rather precise warnings available, the new tools and processes tested during the exercise demonstrated vividly that a vast majority of flights could be conducted despite a volcanic plume widely dispersed within a high-traffic airspace over Europe. The resulting number of flight cancellations was minimal.

Marcus Hirtl et al.
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Short summary
The paper summarizes the set-up and outcome of a volcanic hazard demonstration exercise, with the goal to assess and mitigate the impacts of volcanic ash clouds on civil and military aviation. Experts in the field simulated the sequence of procedures for an artificial eruption of the Etna volcano in Italy. The scope of the exercise ranged from the detection of the assumed event to the issuance of early warnings and optimized re-routing of flights.
The paper summarizes the set-up and outcome of a volcanic hazard demonstration exercise, with...
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