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Project ID: 03-1-3-02

Year: 2003

Date Started: 07/29/2003

Date Completed: 10/05/2006

Title: Forecasting of Fire Weather and Smoke Using Vegetation-Atmosphere Interactions

Project Proposal Abstract: Reliable forecasting of regional weather and wind flow patterns is critical for effective fighting of wildiand fires and the operational management of prescribed bums. Accurate prediction of future wind fields is essential for predicting fire behavior; smoke dispersion, and mitigation of public health risks. Regional weather forecasts are currently produced by 3D mesoscale simulation models, which are quite sensitive to lower boundary conditions defined by the surface exchange of heat and water vapor between terrestrial ecosystems and the atmosphere. These exchange processes are poorly described in current meso-models. This causes great uncertainties in the weather predictions beyond 10 hours. Hence, improving the biophysical representation of land- surface processes in meso-models might be a key step towards a more accurate forecast of fire weather and airflow. Based on this notion, we propose to: 1) Significantly improve the weather forecasting capabilities of the MM5 mesoscale model by coupling it with a detailed biophysical model of soil-vegetation-atmosphere interactions called FORFLUX; 2) Use the coupled MM5- FORFLUX model to provide real-time operational weather forecast over a large portion of the Western US at 12-km and 4-kin spatial resolution; 3) Provide improved real-time predictions of wind fields to fire-spread and smoke-dispersion simulators currently being developed at the FS Fire Science Laboratory in Missoula MT; 4) Deliver the forecast products on the Web in a user-friendly and operationally usable form to fire behavior specialists and land managers. The proposed research will use tools, hardware, and information infrastructure developed and supported by other FS Programs such as the Fire Consortia for Advanced Modeling of Meteorology and Smoke (FCAMMS).

Principal Investigator: Karl F. Zeller

Agency/Organization: Independent Wildlife Researcher

Branch or Dept:

Other Project Collaborators




Branch or Dept

Co-Principal Investigator

Tim Mathewson

BLM-Bureau of Land Management

Colorado State Office

Co-Principal Investigator

Ned T. Nikolov

Forest Service

RMRS-Forestry Sciences Lab-Fort Collins

Federal Cooperator

Karl F. Zeller

Independent Wildlife Researcher

Project Locations

Fire Science Exchange Network


There are no project locations identified for this project.

Project Deliverables

Final Report view or print

("Results presented in JFSP Final Reports may not have been peer-reviewed and should be interpreted as tentative until published in a peer-reviewed source.")

  ID Type Title
    937 Computer Model/Software/Algorithm Real-time fire weather forecasts including wind fields over the FCAMMS RMC domain produced by the coupled MM5-FORFLUX model
  go to website 938 Computer Model/Software/Algorithm Interactive Web-enabled interface to the MM5-FORFLUX model output that is useful and easily understandable to fire behavior specialists, incident meterologists, and land managers
  go to website 7122 Computer Model/Software/Algorithm A comprehensive real-time verification system was developed for the MFF model using weather observations from over 500 automated Stations in the Western US. Results are available on line 24/7.
    7250 Computer Model/Software/Algorithm Improved MM5 mesoscale model running FORFLUX as a land-surface module capable of producing accurate predictions over a 48-72 hr time period.

Supporting Documents

The following supporting documents are available for this project.

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