KVERT to cease operations as Russian government cuts funding 27 January 2010Posted by admin in Kamchatka, Russia.
Tags: Kamchatka, Russia, volcano monitoring
The Kamchatka Volcanic Eruption Response Team (KVERT) monitors the highly active volcanoes of the Kamchatka Peninsula in the Russian far east. Many international air routes pass through airspace potentially affected by volcanic eruptions on Kamchatka, and there is a very high risk of flight disruption, and even of accidents and loss of life, if volcanic activity in this region is not properly monitored.
But the Russian government does not care about that. The following announcement came through this evening via the VOLCANO mailing list:
Due to a loss of government funding beginning February 01, 2010, KVERT will no longer
distribute information regarding volcanic activity in Kamchatka and the Northern Kuriles.
Specifically, the following KVERT services are suspended:
– Assignment of Aviation Color Codes;
– email operational messages from IVS FED RAS and KB GS RAS;
– daily activity report in English from KB GS RAS (table format);
– KVERT Information Releases about current activity and forecasts activity of
volcanoes of Kamchatka and Northern Kuriles from IVS FED RAS
to all users including Tokyo VAAC, Anchorage VAAC, and Washington VAAC, and airlines
In addition, KVERT will no longer maintain its public web site with volcano information.
Access to the following information will cease:
– KVERT information releases
– Volcanic danger prognosis for aviation for next week (in Russian)
– Current Activity of the Volcanoes
– MODIS and NOAA satellite images
– Weekly information on current eruptions on the IVS website
This is dreadful, shameful news. The Kamchatka volcanoes cannot be left unmonitored: either the Russian government must be pressured to reconsider (and Moscow does not normally respond very well to such external pressure) or some kind of international arrangement will have to be made through which either KVERT funding can be continued or another country will have to step in, if that is possible.
UPDATE. This has happened before. Funding for KVERT was last cut in 2007: an AVO news release from March 2007 can be found here. KVERT was offline from 1 March to 9 April that year. Funding also broke down for KVERT in 1994.
ANOTHER UPDATE. Dr Erik Klemetti weighs in at Eruptions, with all the detail about why this is such a bad idea: Russia nixes Kamchatka and Kuril Island volcano monitoring.