Publication Date

Spring 2010

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Meteorology and Climate Science


Craig B. Clements


AERMOD, Black Carbon, Emissions, Fire, Particulate Matter, Prescribed fire

Subject Areas

Atmospheric Sciences; Atmospheric Chemistry; Meteorology


Prescribed fire is a frequently utilized land-management tool in the Southeastern US. In this study, effects of seasonal-related variations and of turbulence generation on emissions and impacts from prescribed fires were evaluated. High frequency in situ data were obtained from three summer (July 2008) and three winter (January 2009) fires within the active burn perimeter and downwind by use of a 10 m instrumented tower and 2 m tripod, respectively. Two cases were selected to evaluate the performance of the EPA-approved short-range regulatory dispersion model, AERMOD, for prescribed fire applications.

Results showed that summer fuels were much greener than winter fuels and did not burn as efficiently, thus resulting in enhanced particulate and CO emissions during summer fires compared to winter. Statistically significant correlations between turbulence, modified combustion efficiency, and pollutant concentrations were found. For both cases, AERMOD was able to reproduce the observed period and hourly averaged downwind particulate concentrations.