233 Using Dual Polarimetric Radar to Assess Prescribed and Wildland Fire Intensity in Florida

Monday, 7 January 2013
Exhibit Hall 3 (Austin Convention Center)
Sean Luchs, Florida Forest Service, Tallahassee, FL; and J. Pendergrast
Manuscript (1.8 MB)

Handout (3.2 MB)

Plumes from prescribed and wildland fires are commonly observed on WSR-88D radars in the state of Florida. Land management agencies and the National Weather Service use radar data to monitor overall fire activity. In early 2012, WSR-88D radars around Florida began receiving polarimetric upgrades, and now provide dual-pol products. Wildland fire plumes in Oklahoma have been shown to have unique characteristics in some polarimetric variables, and similar characteristics can be seen with airborne fire plumes in Florida. The frequent occurrence of plumes on radar provides an opportunity for ongoing investigation of their polarimetric characteristics. This paper investigates use of WSR-88D dual-pol data to assess fire character and in some cases predict future behavior using: airborne plume density, downwind ember spread and inferred nature of ground fuels. These variables may provide improved radar based information to land management agencies for specific, real-time wildfire assessment and prediction.
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