Natural Hazards

, Volume 51, Issue 2, pp 245–262 | Cite as

Russian eruption warning systems for aviation

  • Christina Neal
  • Olga Girina
  • Sergey Senyukov
  • Alexander Rybin
  • Jeffrey Osiensky
  • Pavel Izbekov
  • Gail Ferguson
Original Paper


More than 65 potentially active volcanoes on the Kamchatka Peninsula and the Kurile Islands pose a substantial threat to aircraft on the Northern Pacific (NOPAC), Russian Trans-East (RTE), and Pacific Organized Track System (PACOTS) air routes. The Kamchatka Volcanic Eruption Response Team (KVERT) monitors and reports on volcanic hazards to aviation for Kamchatka and the north Kuriles. KVERT scientists utilize real-time seismic data, daily satellite views of the region, real-time video, and pilot and field reports of activity to track and alert the aviation industry of hazardous activity. Most Kurile Island volcanoes are monitored by the Sakhalin Volcanic Eruption Response Team (SVERT) based in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk. SVERT uses daily moderate resolution imaging spectroradiometer (MODIS) satellite images to look for volcanic activity along this 1,250-km chain of islands. Neither operation is staffed 24 h per day. In addition, the vast majority of Russian volcanoes are not monitored seismically in real-time. Other challenges include multiple time-zones and language differences that hamper communication among volcanologists and meteorologists in the US, Japan, and Russia who share the responsibility to issue official warnings. Rapid, consistent verification of explosive eruptions and determination of cloud heights remain significant technical challenges. Despite these difficulties, in more than a decade of frequent eruptive activity in Kamchatka and the northern Kuriles, no damaging encounters with volcanic ash from Russian eruptions have been recorded.


Volcanic ash and aircraft safety Kamchatka volcanoes Kurile volcanoes Ash clouds Volcano hazard warnings Volcano hazards Aviation safety 



Air Route Traffic Control Center


Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer


Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer


Alaska Volcano Observatory


Center Weather Service Unit


Flight Information Region


International Air Transport Association


International Civil Aviation Organization


Kamchatka Volcanic Eruption Response Team


Meteorological Impact Statement


Multi-Functional Transport Satellite


Meteorological Watch Office


Moderate Resolution Imagine Spectrometer


North Pacific


Notice to Airmen


Ozone Monitoring Instrument


Pacific Organized Track System


Russian Trans East (air routes)


Russian American Coordinating Group for Air Traffic


Significant Meteorological Information


Sakhalin Volcanic Eruption Response Team


Temporary Flight Restriction


US Geological Survey


Urgent Pilot Report


Volcanic Ash Advisory


Volcanic Ash Advisory Center



The authors wish to acknowledge the many Russian, US, and Japanese volcanologists, meteorologists, air traffic controllers, and aviation managers who contribute to effective volcanic eruption warning systems in the Northern Pacific. Alexander Manevich of KVERT and IVS was particularly helpful in the early reviews of this document and in compiling data on Kamchatkan eruptions.


  1. Airbus (2008) Global market forecast. Accessed 1 December 2008
  2. Bogoyavlenskaya GE, Braitseva OA, Melekestsev IV, Maksimov AP, Ivanov BV (1991) Bezymianny Volcano. In: Fedotov SA, Masurenkov Yu (eds) Active volcanoes of Kamchatka, vol 1. Nauka, Moscow, pp 195–197Google Scholar
  3. Carter A, Ramsey M, Belousov A (2007) Detection of a new summit crater on Bezymianny Volcano lava dome: satellite and field-based thermal data. Bull Volcanol. doi: 10.1007/s00445-007-0113-x
  4. Carter AJ, Girina O, Ramsey MS, Demyanchuk YV (2008) ASTER and field observations of the 24 December 2006 eruption of Bezymianny Volcano, Russia. Remote Sens Environ. doi: 10.1016/j.rse.2007.12.001
  5. Gardner CA, Guffanti MC (2006) U.S. Geological Survey’s alert notification system for volcanic activity. US Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2006-3139, 4 ppGoogle Scholar
  6. Gillespie A, Abrams M, Yamaguchi Y (2005) Scientific results from ASTER. Remote Sens Environ 99(1–2):1. doi: 10.1016/j.rse.2005.05.014 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Gorshkov GS (1959) Gigantic eruption of the Bezymianny Volcano. Bull Volcanol 20:77–109. doi: 10.1007/BF02596572 Google Scholar
  8. Gorshkov G (1970) Volcanism and the Upper Mantle: investigations in the Kurile Island Arc. Plenum, New York Google Scholar
  9. International Airways Volcano Watch Operations Group (IAVWOG) (2008) Manual on volcanic ash, radioactive material and toxic chemical clouds, DRAFT incorporating Amendment 1: International Civil Aviation Organization Doc 9691. Accessed 10 July 2008
  10. Khrenov A, Dvigalo V, Kirsanov I, Fedotov S, Gorel’chik I, Zharinov N (1991) Klyuchevskoy Volcano. In: Fedotov S, Masurenkov Yu (eds) Active volcanoes of Kamchatka, vol 1. Nauka, Moscow, pp 146–163Google Scholar
  11. Kirianov V, Neal C, Gordeev E, Miller T (2002) The Kamchatkan Volcanic Eruption Response Team (Kamchatkan Volcanic Eruptions Response Team). US Geological Survey Fact Sheet 064-02.
  12. Levelt PF, Hilsenrath E, Leppelmeier GW, van den Oord GHJ, Bhartia PK, Tamminen J, de Haan JF, Veefkind JP (2006) Scientific objectives of the ozone monitoring instrument. IEEE Trans Geosci Remote Sens 44(5):1199–1208. doi: 10.1109/TGRS.2006.872336 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. McGimsey R, Neal C (1996) 1995 Volcanic activity in Alaska and Kamchatka: summary of events and response of the Alaska Volcano Observatory. US Geological Survey Open-File Report OF 96-0738, 22 ppGoogle Scholar
  14. McGimsey R, Neal C, Dixon J, Ushakov S, Rybin A (2007) 2005 Volcanic activity in Alaska, Kamchatka, and the Kurile Islands: summary of events and response of the Alaska Volcano Observatory. US Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2007-5269, 94 ppGoogle Scholar
  15. Miller T, Casadevall T (2000) Volcanic ash hazards to aviation. In: Sigurdsson H (ed) Encyclopedia of volcanoes. Academic Press, San DiegoGoogle Scholar
  16. Neal C (2003) Kamchatka volcanic eruption team celebrates tenth anniversary at workshop. EOS Trans AGU 84(41):427. doi: 10.1029/2003EO410007 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Neal C, Casadevall T, Miller T, Hendley J, Stauffer P (1997) Volcanic ash: danger to aircraft in the North Pacific. US Geological Survey Fact Sheet 030-97, 2 ppGoogle Scholar
  18. Neal C, McGimsey R, Melnikov D (2005) 2004 Volcanic activity in Alaska and Kamchatka: summary of events and response of the Alaska Volcano Observatory. US Geological Survey Open-File Report 2005-1308, 67 ppGoogle Scholar
  19. Neal CA, McGimsey RG, Dixon J, Manevich A, Rybin A (2008a) 2006 Volcanic activity in Alaska, Kamchatka, and the Kurile Islands: summary of events and response of the Alaska Volcano Observatory. US Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2008-5214, 114 ppGoogle Scholar
  20. Neal C, Rybin A, Chibisova M, Miller E (2008b) Active volcanoes of the Kurile Islands: a reference guide for aviation users. US Geological Survey Open-File Report 2008-1162, 10 pp.
  21. Oshima S (2002) MTSAT to be Japan’s first hybrid spacecraft. Aviat Week Space Technol 157:26Google Scholar
  22. Ramsey MS, Dehn J (2004) Spaceborne observations of the 2000 Bezymianny, Kamchatka eruption: the integration of high-resolution ASTER data into near real-time monitoring using AVHRR. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 135:127–146. doi: 10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2003.12.014
  23. Rybin A, Karagusov Y, Izbekov P, Terentyev N, Guryanov V, Neal C, Dean K (2004) Status of monitoring active volcanoes of the Kurile Islands: present and future. In: Proceedings of the second international conference on volcanic ash and aviation safety, Office of the Federal Coordinator for Meteorological Services and Supporting Research, Arlington, Virginia, 21–24 June 2004, pp 61–66Google Scholar
  24. Senyukov S (2006) Algorithm of the eruption prediction of Bezymianny volcano (Kamchatka). In: proceedings of the 5th biennial workshop on subduction emphasizing the Japan-Kuril-Kamchatka-Aleutian arcs, University of Hokkaido, Sapporo, 14–19 July 2006, 57 ppGoogle Scholar
  25. Simkin T, Siebert L (1994) Volcanoes of the world. Geoscience Press, TucsonGoogle Scholar
  26. West M, Senyukov S, Chebrov V, Thelen W, Nikulin A, Buurman H (2007) Eruption seismicity of Bezymianny Volcano, Kamchatka, Russia. EOS Trans AGU 88(52), Fall Meeting Suppl Abstract S43A-1034Google Scholar
  27. Yamaguchi Y, Kahle AB, Tsu H, Kawakami T, Pniel M (1998) Overview of advanced spaceborne thermal emission and reflection radiometer (ASTER). IEEE Trans Geosci Rem Sens 36:1062–1071. doi: 10.1109/36.700991 CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christina Neal
    • 1
  • Olga Girina
    • 2
  • Sergey Senyukov
    • 3
  • Alexander Rybin
    • 4
  • Jeffrey Osiensky
    • 5
  • Pavel Izbekov
    • 6
  • Gail Ferguson
    • 7
  1. 1.U.S. Geological Survey, Alaska Science Center, Alaska Volcano ObservatoryAnchorageUSA
  2. 2.Institute of Volcanology and SeismologyPetropavlovsk-KamchatskyRussia
  3. 3.Kamchatka Branch of Geophysical SurveyPetropavlovsk-KamchatskyRussia
  4. 4.Institute of Marine Geology and GeophysicsYuzhno-SakhalinskRussia
  5. 5.NOAA National Weather ServiceAnchorageUSA
  6. 6.University of Alaska Geophysical InstituteFairbanksUSA
  7. 7.Federal Aviation Administration, Anchorage ARTCCAnchorageUSA

Personalised recommendations