Micrometeorological observations were made during a prescribed fire experiment conducted in a region of complex terrain with grass fuels and weak ambient winds of 3 m s-1. The experiment allowed for the analysis of plume and turbulence structures including individual plume core evolution during fire front passage. Observations were made using a suite of in situ and remote sensing instruments strategically placed at the base of a gully with a 24° slope angle. The fire did not spread upwards along the gully because the ambient wind was not in alignment with the slope, demonstrating that unexpected fire spread can occur under weak wind conditions. Our observational results show that plume overturning caused downward heat transport of-64 kW m-2 to occur and that this mixing of warmer plume air downward to the surface may result in increased preheating of fine fuels. Plume evolution was associated with the formation of two plume cores, caused by vigorous entrainment and mixing into the plume. Furthermore, the turbulence kinetic energy observed within the plume was dominated by horizontal velocity variances, likely caused by increased fire-induced circulations into the plume core. These observations highlight the nature of plume core separation and evolution and provide context for understanding the plume dynamics of larger and more intense wildfires.
National Institute of Standards and Technology
Complex terrain, Field, Micrometeorology, Plume dynamics, Turbulence, Wildland fire
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Meteorology and Climate Science
Maritza Arreola Amaya and Craig B. Clements. "Evolution of plume core structures and turbulence during a wildland fire experiment" Atmosphere (2020). https://doi.org/10.3390/ATMOS11080842