Publication Date

1-1-2020

Document Type

Article

Publication Title

Atmosphere

Volume

11

Issue

8

DOI

10.3390/ATMOS11080832

Abstract

Forecasting fire growth, plume rise and smoke impacts on air quality remains a challenging task. Wildland fires dynamically interact with the atmosphere, which can impact fire behavior, plume rises, and smoke dispersion. For understory fires, the fire propagation is driven by winds attenuated by the forest canopy. However, most numerical weather prediction models providing meteorological forcing for fire models are unable to resolve canopy winds. In this study, an improved canopy model parameterization was implemented within a coupled fire-atmosphere model (WRF-SFIRE) to simulate a prescribed burn within a forested plot. Simulations with and without a canopy wind model were generated to determine the sensitivity of fire growth, plume rise, and smoke dispersion to canopy effects on near-surface wind flow. Results presented here found strong linkages between the simulated fire rate of spread, heat release and smoke plume evolution. The standard WRF-SFIRE configuration, which uses a logarithmic interpolation to estimate sub-canopy winds, overestimated wind speeds (by a factor 2), fire growth rates and plume rise heights. WRF-SFIRE simulations that implemented a canopy model based on a non-dimensional wind profile, saw significant improvements in sub-canopy winds, fire growth rates and smoke dispersion when evaluated with observations.

Funding Number

ICER-1664175

Funding Sponsor

National Science Foundation

Keywords

Canopy winds, Coupled-fire atmosphere model, Smoke modeling, Wildland fire

Comments

This is the Version of Record and can also be read online here.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Department

Meteorology and Climate Science

COinS