The James Holton Symposium


Advances in understanding the atmospheric dynamics of wildland fires

Brian E. Potter, USDA Forest Service, East Lansing, MI; and J. J. Charney, W. E. Heilman, and X. Bian

The number, size and cost of managing fires in the year 2000 brought about an increase in funding for USDA Forest Service Research programs related to fire, including research on interactions between the atmosphere and fires. This funding allowed fire-atmosphere scientists to begin drawing on advances in storm dynamics and numerical atmospheric models made during the 1980s and 1990s to answer questions of fire behavior – storm to meso-gamma scale processes – and synoptic and meso-alpha scale atmospheric dynamics that influence fire danger and as well as fire behavior. The convective dynamics associated with fires are similar in many ways to those of thunderstorms, but also differ in ways that require careful consideration before one can apply “conventional” storm dynamics theories to them. On the synoptic scale, there is evidence suggesting that frontal dynamics, specifically lee troughs and the indirect circulation in the jet exit region, influence fires in the northeastern U.S. on timescales of 2-3 days. This presentation will describe the research program operated by the USDA Forest Service's Eastern Area Modeling Consortium.

Poster Session 1, James Holton Poster Presentations
Monday, 30 January 2006, 2:30 PM-4:00 PM, A302

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