Reporting on Volcanic Ash Clouds


The Bureau of Meteorology has informed the AFAP that there is a need for better reports and information from pilots regarding ash clouds. The AFAP is now asking pilots who transit near volcanic ash clouds or events to help by collecting any data, photos or the like and provide them by email to with the subject heading: Volcanic ash pilot reports

It doesn’t matter which regions of the world that this information is collected from as the Volcanic Ash Advisory Centers (VAACs) around the world all share information with each other.

The information will be used to verify other input and detection information and this will lead to better volcanic predictive and analysis activity in the future. Please note, you should provide pilot weather reports through your normal reporting or PIREPs too (but these don’t always get passed on). When reporting, you should aim to provide specific information including:

  • Estimated height of eruption
  • Altitude of aircraft (where the aircraft is in relation to the observation)
  • Direction of travel (the ash plume and the aircraft)
  • Date/Time of observation
  • Photos (if possible)

Our positions in the sky provide a unique opportunity to add a lateral witness account to the satellite-based views from above and the ground-based observations from below.


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