Eighth Symposium on Fire and Forest Meteorology


Probabilistic lightning forecasts and fuel dryness level forecasts in the Graphical Forecast Editor: Increased resolution and expanded distribution for 2009

Chris V. Gibson, NOAA/NWSFO, Missoula, MT; and P. D. Bothwell, S. Sharples, E. D. Delgado, and R. Lamoni

During the 2008 fire season, the National Weather Service (NWS) office at Salt Lake City worked with the National Centers for Environmental Prediction - Storm Prediction Center (SPC) and Eastern Great Basin Coordination Center Predictive Services Meteorologists to provide probabilistic lightning activity forecasts and fuel dryness information in a graphical form. The project has expanded for 2009, with data now available in the NWS's Graphical Forecast Editor (GFE) for the entire Western CONUS. Fuel dryness forecasts, provided by the Coordination Centers across the expanded domain are also available to NWS forecast offices, and are sent back to the SPC for use in their fire weather operations. In addition to the expanded domain and enhanced dissemination system, the SPC lightning forecast resolution increased for 2009 from 40 km square to 12 km square grid boxes. The forecast probability of 10 or more ground strikes per grid box and the corresponding fuel dryness level were provided via web page each day through the 2009 fire season. Fuel dryness forecasts are provided on the web page on a daily basis for days 1 through 4. For the lightning probability, a 12 hour forecast is provided for 18Z today through 06Z tonight, followed by 24 hour forecasts (06Z to 06Z) for days 2 through 4. The lightning/dryness web page is updated each day based on output from the 12Z cycle of the NCEP's NAM12 model. The NWS forecast offices and the SPC have access to lightning probability forecasts from all four NAM12 cycles each day. This information is intended to be a new tool for fire management decision support.

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Session 10, Operational Forecasting (Short to Long Term) of Fire Weather for Wild, Prescribed, and Fire Use Fires
Thursday, 15 October 2009, 10:30 AM-12:00 PM, Ballroom B

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