Sunday, 9 February 2003
Analysis of a 30-Year Haines Index Climatology for the United States
The Haines Index is used to predict wildland fire severity or its growth potential based on environmental stability and moisture. However the Index has not been adequately determined or studied for all locations. As a result, the US Forest Service North Central Research Station has teamed up with the Jackson State University Meteorology Program to develop a 30-year Haines Index Climatology for the United States, Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico. Radiosonde data for the period of 1961 to 1990 has been collected for 38 stations to calculate the Haines Index. The Index values will provide a look at inter and intra annual, seasonal, and monthly variations of the Index. The resulting climatology will provide aid to fire managers in their decision-making in assessing the growth of wildland fires by providing a benchmark of the behavior of the Haines Index in their region. It will thus provide a better definition and separation of the risk categories. Educating users on the meaning and interpretation of the Haines Index is also of concern and part of the Eastern Area Modeling Consortium’s program of work. The JSU Meteorology Program has therefore also initiated routine daily forecasts and animations of the Haines Index based on COAMPS output for the southeastern United States. Results will provide both a descriptive and more physically-based understanding of the “fire behavior climate” of the atmosphere and will set the stage for routine operational predictions.