5.2 The application of radar-derived precipitation and LAPS gridded analyses to real-time fire weather index maps for the state of Michigan

Wednesday, 24 October 2007: 10:30 AM
The Turrets (Atlantic Oakes Resort)
Joseph J. Charney, USDA Forest Service, East Lansing, MI; and R. H. Ziel and X. Bian

The Canadian Fire Weather Index (CFWI) has long been used by states in the north-central and northeastern United States to help establish fire danger ratings in northern boreal forests. The traditional method of calculating the CFWI for operational use in the State of Michigan has been to employ observations from often widely-scattered weather stations, such as RAWS stations, to infer a fire danger rating for different areas or regions across the state.

We have developed a system the generates gridded analyses of the CFWI components across the landscape for the State of Michigan. The system employs two data sources as inputs to the CFWI: 1) gage-adjusted radar precipitation estimates from the National Weather Service and 2) the Local Analysis and Prediction System (LAPS) generated by NOAA's The Forecast Application Branch. Radar-derived precipitation estimates provide an analysis of the precipitation totals across the landscape while LAPS provides gridded analyses of temperature, humidity, and wind speed.

This system has been running in real time since March 2007, and we have compared the results against the traditional surface station CFWI observations and field measurements. This presentation will document the development of the observation-based system, the implementation of the system in real time, and its performance through the spring and summer of 2007.

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