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Project ID: 08-1-6-09

Year: 2008

Date Started: 06/01/2008

Date Completed: 02/27/2013

Title: Airborne and Lidar Experiments for the Validation of Smoke Transport Models

Project Proposal Abstract: The proposal addresses JFSP AFP-2008-1, Task 6, Smoke and Emissions Models Evaluation. Wildland fire is a significant source of fine particulate matter (e.g. PM2.5, particles· with a diameter less than 2.5 Jlm) and volatile organic compounds that can contribute to ozone (03) production and secondary organic aerosol formation. The Regional Haze Rule, recently revised National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for PM2.5 (the 24-hr ambient standard was reduced from 65 to 35 Jlg m-3 ), and the proposed tightening of 0 3 standards will increase the pressure on land management agencies to address the air quality impact from wildfIre, wildland fire use, and prescribed burning. Land management agencies need rigorously tested, accurate models to quantify the contribution of fire emissions to air pollution (e.g. PM2.5 and 0 3) and visibility impairment. Accurately describing and predicting the dynamics of smoke plumes and subsequent smoke transport is a major uncertainty in determining the impact of fire emissions on air quality. While many smoke plume models exist, few smoke plume observational datasets are available to properly validate these models and quantitatively assess their uncertainties, biases, and application limits. Furthermore, most of the existing datasets were obtained from prescribed fires that do not necessarily serve as a valid proxy for naturally occurring wildland fires. The proposed project will measure key variables with the spatial and temporal resolution required to validate plume rise models and high-resolution smoke dispersion models. In this proposal a ground based, mobile lidar (Light Detection And Ranging) instrument will be deployed along with an airborne instrumentation package to acquire measurements of smoke plume dynamics, smoke aerosol distribution, chemical composition, and meteorological conditions in, and around, the plumes of 4-5 active wildland fire events in the northwestern United States. Lidar will measure plume rise height, dynamics, dispersion, and aerosol optical properties. Airborne instrument packages capable of measuring the 3-D distribution of aerosol mass density, major trace gas (CO, CO2, C~) concentrations, and critical meteorological variables (wind vector, temperature, relative humidity, pressure) will be deployed on a Cessna aircraft. Multiple wildland fires will be investigated over 3 years, allowing the research team to measure plume rise and smoke transport over a wide range of meteorological, fire activity, fuel, and terrain conditions. The measurement results will provide the data necessary to quantitatively evaluate plume rise models and highresolution smoke dispersion and air quality forecasting models. The datasets collected in this project will support the Smoke Emissions Model Intercomparison Project (SEMIP) proposed by Dr. Sim Larkin of the U.S. Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station. This proposal will provide the observations needed to quantify the uncertainties, biases, and application limits of these models. In addition to SEMIP, the datasets obtained in this project will be provided to the broader fire and smoke research community, including the Forest Service Fire Consortia for the Advanced Modeling of Meteorology and Smoke (FCAMMS), for validation of smoke plume models and smoke dispersion / air quality forecasting systems. By contributing critical data to SEMIP and the broader fire and smoke science community, the proposed project will facilitate the efforts of researchers to provide air quality and fire managers at the Geographic Area Coordination Centers (GACC), Incident Commands, and federal and state agencies then will be able to confidently use the validated models to better predict the pollutant levels downwind from large fires.

Principal Investigator: Shawn P. Urbanski

Agency/Organization: Forest Service

Branch or Dept: RMRS-Fire Sciences Lab-Missoula

Other Project Collaborators




Branch or Dept

Co-Principal Investigator

Gary L. Achtemeier

Forest Service

SRS-Forestry Sciences Lab-Athens GA

Co-Principal Investigator

Wei Min M. Hao

Forest Service

RMRS-Fire Sciences Lab-Missoula

Co-Principal Investigator

Vladimir Kovalev

Forest Service

RMRS-Forestry Sciences Lab-Missoula

Federal Cooperator

Shawn P. Urbanski

Forest Service

RMRS-Fire Sciences Lab-Missoula

Project Locations

Fire Science Exchange Network








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
view or print   1682 Government Publication Combustion efficiency and emission factors for U.S. wildfires
view or print   940 Government Publication FY09 Progress Report: Validation of Smoke Transport Models with Airborne and LIDAR Experiments
view or print   1498 Government Publication Determination of the Smoke-Plume Heights with Scanning LIDAR Using Alternative Functions for Establishing the Atmospheric Heterogeneity Locations
view or print   1525 Government Publication FY10 Progress Report: Validation of Smoke Transport Models with Airborne and Lidar Experiments
view or print   1545 Government Publication LIDAR and Airborne Investigation of Smoke Plume Characteristics: Kootenai Creek Fire Case Study
view or print   3399 Journal Article Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics
view or print   2531 Journal Article Applied Optics
view or print   3272 Journal Article Applied Optics
  go to website 7294 Dataset (including spatial) Airborne and Lidar Measurements of Smoke Plume Rise, Emissions, and Dispersion

Supporting Documents

There are no supporting documents available for this project.

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