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Updated May 10, 2004

About the Conference

Theme: Avoiding Airborne Volcanic Ash—Anywhere in the World

The theme of the Second International Conference on Volcanic Ash and Aviation Safety reflects the progress made since the first, exploratory symposium in 1991 on the aviation hazard posed by airborne volcanic ash. Since then, many scientific and operational developments have improved our ability to mitigate the risks and costs of volcanic ash. The Volcanic Ash Advisory Centers, established in 1995, now provide a cooperative, international system for identifying ash cloud hazards and notifying the international aviation community. We have the potential now to ensure that pilots can avoid ash hazards anywhere in the world, at any time. This second international conference will examine what has been achieved and what remains to be done, to realize this goal.

The major topics for the conference are:

  • Physical damage to aircraft from encounters with volcanic ash clouds and the socioeconomic consequences of the volcanic ash hazard.
  • The volcanic source: operations and improvements in eruption monitoring and reporting.
  • Ash cloud observations and forecasting: improving ash cloud detection and modeling capabilities.
  • Operations and capabilities at the regional Volcanic Ash Advisory Centers (VAACs): improving VAAC communications and operational capabilities to meet world aviation needs.
  • Aviation industry perspectives: transferring technology from research into operations to meet aviation safety needs.
  • Education and outreach to pilots, air traffic controllers, dispatchers, the aviation industry, and the meteorological and communications support services to aviation.

Using the plenary sessions to provide a shared context and the smaller breakout sessions as working discussion groups, the conference is intended to set the agenda for continuing work by the community toward three goals:

  • Consolidate and communicate the substantial progress made in the technical, operational, and scientific aspects of ash hazard mitigation since the first international meeting in 1991.
  • Identify requirements and opportunities for further improvements in each component of the coordinated, international mitigation system.
  • Leverage the ongoing investment of effort and resources by the international programs, technology R&D partners, and the aviation industry to ensure the greatest return in reducing risks to safety and socioeconomic consequences.

We are seeking attendance from airlines (meteorology departments, dispatch, pilots), aviation manufacturers and service providers, trade and professional associations, airport authorities, governmental and nongovernmental organizations, volcano observatories and researchers, VAACs, academia, and the scientific press. Participants will be able to present a short talk or poster. The conference will also host an exhibition of products and services related to volcanic ash and aviation safety.

For conference registration and hotel information, the Call for Abstracts for talks or posters, and the Call for Exhibits, as well as the most recent detailed agenda, use the menu options at the top of this page.

The Second International Conference on Volcanic Ash and Aviation Safety is sponsored by the following:

For further information about the Conference contact:

Conference Logistics
Erin McNamara

Conference Agenda
Mary Cairns or Donald Carver

Office of the Federal Coordinator for Meteorology
8455 Colesville Road
Silver Spring, MD 20910
Tel: 301-427-2002; Fax: 301-427-2007


Conference Agenda
Marianne Guffanti
U.S. Geological Survey