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  • Carina Fearnley

Volcano alert level systems: managing the challenges of effective volcanic crisis communication

Updated: May 21

This is one of a series of blogs providing a brief overview of some of the key papers I have written in relation to early warning systems and disaster risk reduction measures:


C.J. Fearnley, S. Beaven (2008). Volcano alert level systems: managing the challenges of effective volcanic crisis communication. Bulletin of volcanology 80(46) https://doi.org/10.1007/s00445-018-1219-z


This paper has two goals. First as an invited review paper it provides the state of art in knowledge relating to volcano alert level systems, providing a history and overview over the key debates surrounding alerts. The second part of the paper discusses the vital role of translation and multi-way communication to ensure that all involved in designing and assigning alerts understand what information is credible and relevant. Common communication tools adopted to achieve this include cooperation plans, protocols and procedures. But, these activities are themselves dependent upon everyday dialogues between stakeholders via differing formats (social networking, internet, phone), and the establishment of joint information centres, meetings, and workshops.


The figure below outlines the framework needed to enable volcano alerts to be effective communication tools and highlights the importance of the roles of different domains, and the establishing salience, legitimacy, and credibility between all stakeholders.


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