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Derek V. Mallia, Adam K. Kochanski, Shawn P. Urbanski, John C. Lin
Year Published:

Cataloging Information

Fire Behavior
Simulation Modeling
Smoke & Air Quality
Smoke Emissions
Smoke Modeling & Forecasting

NRFSN number: 17793
FRAMES RCS number: 55852
Record updated:

Heating from wildfires adds buoyancy to the overlying air, often producing plumes that vertically distribute fire emissions throughout the atmospheric column over the fire. The height of the rising wildfire plume is a complex function of the size of the wildfire, fire heat flux, plume geometry, and atmospheric conditions, which can make simulating plume rises difficult with coarser-scale atmospheric models. To determine the altitude of fire emission injection, several plume rise parameterizations have been developed in an effort estimate the height of the wildfire plume rise. Previous work has indicated the performance of these plume rise parameterizations has generally been mixed when validated against satellite observations. However, it is often difficult to evaluate the performance of plume rise parameterizations due to the significant uncertainties associated with fire input parameters such as fire heat fluxes and area. In order to reduce the uncertainties of fire input parameters, we applied an atmospheric modeling framework with different plume rise parameterizations to a well constrained prescribed burn, as part of the RxCADRE field experiment. Initial results found that the model was unable to reasonably replicate downwind smoke for cases when fire emissions were emitted at the surface and released at the top of the plume. However, when fire emissions were distributed below the plume top following a Gaussian distribution, model results were significantly improved.


Mallia, Derek V.; Kochanski, Adam K.; Urbanski, Shawn P.; Lin, John C. 2018. Optimizing smoke and plume rise modeling approaches at local scales. Atmosphere 9(5):166. doi:10.3390/atmos9050166