Earth observations and volcanic ash. A report from the ESA/Eumetsat Dublin workshop, 4-7 March, 2013.
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FOREWORD: The Eyjafjallajökull eruption in spring 2010 found the European air transportation system unprepared to deal effectively with such a large-scale event. At that time the European Space Agency and Eumetsat convened a two-day meeting in Frascati, Italy, with specialists in spacebased observations of volcanic emissions, to consider if best possible use was being made of observing systems, along with models, to inform management of the situation. The workshop demonstrated that the research community across Europe had responded extensively to the crisis on a best-effort basis, and their results offered significant promise for more effective future management of such events. A comprehensive set of recommendations was made for work to realize this research potential as operational tools that could better inform the response to any similar future situations. The present report summarizes the outcome of a follow-on workshop in March 2013, also convened by ESA and EUMETSAT, in Dublin, Ireland. This brought together representatives of the research community along with aircraft manufacturing industry, airline operators, regulators and meteorological offices, to review progress and guide on-going work within the ESA “Volcanic Ash Strategic Initiative Team” project, led by the Norwegian Institute for Air Research (NILU). This report summarizes the workshop findings on progress made in the intervening three years on observations and models, as well as on the regulatory side. It shows that, while a similar event would today be met with a more adaptive and economically effective response, there remains significant opportunity to optimize the operational use of satellite, ground and airborne observations during such situations.