UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Capturing Plume Rise and Dispersion with a Coupled Large-Eddy Simulation: Case Study of a Prescribed Burn Moisseeva, Nadya; Stull, Roland

Abstract

Current understanding of the buoyant rise and subsequent dispersion of smoke due to wildfires has been limited by the complexity of interactions between fire behavior and atmospheric conditions, as well as the uncertainty in model evaluation data. To assess the feasibility of using numerical models to address this knowledge gap, we designed a large-eddy simulation of a real-life prescribed burn using a coupled semi-emperical fire–atmosphere model. We used observational data to evaluate the simulated smoke plume, as well as to identify sources of model biases. The results suggest that the rise and dispersion of fire emissions are reasonably captured by the model, subject to accurate surface thermal forcing and relatively steady atmospheric conditions. Overall, encouraging model performance and the high level of detail offered by simulated data may help inform future smoke plume modeling work, plume-rise parameterizations and field experiment designs.

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CC BY 4.0

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