Eighth Symposium on Fire and Forest Meteorology


Validation of modeled smoke plume injection heights using satellite data

Sean Raffuse, Sonoma Technology, Inc., Petaluma, CA; and K. Wade, J. Stone, D. Sullivan, N. Larkin, S. Tara, and R. Solomon

The estimation of plume rise (i.e., at what level aerosols are injected into the atmosphere by fires) is currently a significant source of uncertainty in all smoke models. The chaotic and heterogeneous nature of open burns, coupled with incomplete information on the topography and intensity of fires, makes calculation of heat release and subsequent buoyant plume rise from fires much more difficult than similar calculations for controlled processes such as point source emissions from smokestacks. Miscalculation in plume rise from large fires can result in downwind, ground-level aerosol concentration predictions that are off by an order of magnitude. While efforts have been undertaken to create sophisticated models of plume behavior from fires in specific situations, this approach is difficult to apply to predictive systems. For this application, an improved plume rise algorithm is needed that can only be determined from observational data of the vertical structure of the plume.

New and emerging satellite data sets provide an opportunity to determine the vertical profile of aerosols downwind from large wildfires and prescribed burns. This study uses the high vertical resolution aerosol measurements from the Cloud-Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observation (CALIPSO) satellite and the stereo height measurements from the Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer (MISR) to constrain plume rise uncertainty in the BlueSky smoke-modeling framework. Results from this study will be presented.

wrf recording  Recorded presentation

Session 5A, Smoke from Wildland Fires I
Wednesday, 14 October 2009, 8:30 AM-10:00 AM, Lake McDonald/ Swift Current/ Hanging Gardens

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