PROCEEDINGS: Index of Abstracts
ATMOSPHERIC MESOSCALE SIMULATIONS OF REGIONAL WILDLAND
FIRE EPISODES: LOOKING FOR WEATHER-RELATED FACTORS AND SCALES OF
USDA Forest Service, North Central Forest Experiment
Station, East Lansing, MI 48823-5290.
The Regional Atmospheric Modeling System (RAMS) is a sophisticated
computer model for the simulation of atmospheric processes on scales
from a county to a country. It can accurately represent winds, air
moisture, and air temperature. In the study of fire-weather episodes,
this information must somehow be translated into an estimate of
fire risk. We performed statistical analyses of eight meteorological
variables on fire days and nonfire days, and found that dewpoint
depression differs between the two types of days throughout the
United States (except Hawaii). By adjusting dewpoint depression
for the surface elevation at a particular site, this measure of
humidity becomes a fire-weather index that RAMS can easily compute.
The model can subsequently produce maps showing the distribution
of this fire-weather index at user-specified intervals for simulation
of wildfire episodes. This new index serves as a useful tool for
examining how large-scale atmospheric processes influence the development
of regional weather systems conducive to fire occurrence.