Fourth Symposium on Fire and Forest Meteorology

Tuesday, 13 November 2001: 2:10 PM
Coupled atmosphere-fire modeling and fire behavior sensitivity to atmospheric instability
Mary Ann Jenkins, York University, Toronto, ON, Canada
Poster PDF (214.7 kB)
The main objective of this study is to investigate the sensitivity and dependence of wildland fires to atmospheric stability (and to a lesser degree humidity) through comparative simulations with the Clark et al (1996a,b) coupled wildfire-atmosphere numerical prediction model.

With this approach it is possible to simulate the small-scale atmosphere-fire interactions that are important to wildfire behavior, especially severe wildfire behavior, and the possible impacts of evolving large-scale atmospheric forcing on the fire and vice versa.

In this study, and time permitting, the results of four different numerical fire experiments are analyzed and presented. In three of the four experiments, a single observable parameter --- low-level ambient atmospheric stability --- was changed and the sensitivity of the coupled wildfire-atmosphere model results to the change was examined. These model fires corresponded to Haines Indexes of low, moderate, and high potential for large fire development. In the fourth experiment, two observable parameters --- low-level ambient atmospheric stability and humidity --- were changed. This fire corresponded to a Haines Index for large fire development.

By comparing model results, it is determined which fields are most sensitive to environmental atmospheric stability and the impact of atmospheric stability on wildfire behavior. The study hopes to understand and possibly refine the Haines Index to make it even more useful to fire management agencies and individuals when accessing severe fire risk.

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