In recent years the islands of Vanuatu have been showing signs of increased volcanic activity. The New Zealand Metservice plays an important role in the monitoring of these volcanoes, as they are the Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC Wellington) for the region, one of only 9 centres around the world as shown in the map below.
The August 7th 2012 eruption at Mount Tongariro set in motion MetService’s volcanic ash monitoring process for the aviation industry. The Volcanic Ash Advisory process involves interaction between aircraft operators, Airways Corporation and MetService, with important volcanic information input from GNS Science.
This information is also provided to Civil Aviation (CAA) and is used by them to designate Volcanic Hazard zones around those volcanoes that are known to be Volcanic Alert Level 1 or higher.