New civil contingency response aircraft

18 July 2012

The new Met Office Civil Contingency Aircraft (MOCCA) enables us to respond to a range of civil contingency events, including future volcanic eruptions.

Following the eruptions of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano in 2010 and the Grimsvötn volcano in 2011, the Facility for Airborne Atmospheric Measurements (FAAM) aircraft was used to monitor and make informed decisions on the potential impacts of the ash cloud.

Now, in addition to FAAM, the new MOCCA provides a back-up aircraft. As well as being used to monitor volcanic ash incidents, MOCCA can sample a range of other gases and aerosols in the atmosphere such as dust and smoke from fires like the one at the oil depot in Buncefield in 2005.

We operate MOCCA on behalf of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), in partnership with Cranfield Aerospace and DO Systems. Fully integrated with the Met Office Hazard Centre, observations from the aircraft are sent via satellite to Met Office forecasting and incident response teams to help keep people safe on the ground and in the air. The observations will also be used to enhance our world- leading atmospheric dispersion models.

  • Find out more about our atmospheric dispersion models and how they are used to monitor the spread of the Schmallenberg virus.

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In brief