ESRL Global Systems Division

Successful Installation of New Release of Volcanic Ash Coordination Tool

A new, 2.2A version of ESRL's Volcanic Ash Coordination Tool (VACT) was recently released and installed at three NWS sites and one US Geological Survey site in Anchorage, Alaska. Users trained on this new version were impressed by its two-button-click ability to determine an ash threat, a feature important for meeting the required five-minute initial dissemination of products to the FAA regarding a volcanic ash threat to their airspace. A whole bundle of enhancements was developed and fine tuned for this update, drawing on valuable information from archived volcanic ash events in 2005 and 2006. The users at the VACT sites were excited about this software release's new functionality for determining and disseminating advisories, and coordinating on volcanic ash.

VACT, developed at the Global Systems Division of the Earth System Research Laboratory in Boulder, Colorado, extends the capabilities of the Advanced Weather Interactive Processing System (AWIPS) and FX-Collaborate systems. VACT development was sponsored by the Aviation Systems Branch of the National Weather Service and the Aviation Weather Research Program of the FAA.

VACT provides a framework that can be used for any type of threat to society. It allows for a briefing of societal impacts from those threats using graphics tailored for the recipient in a consistent, efficient, and relevant manner using the expertise of all agencies involved. Additionally, this research and development supports NOAA's general Weather and Water goal of delivering products needed to make sound decisions related to safety, and operating efficiencies.

Contact information
Name: Greg Pratt
Tel: 303-497-7237