One-dimensional simulation of fire injection heights in contrasted meteorological scenarios with PRM and Meso-NH models
S. Strada1, S. R. Freitas2, C. Mari1, K. M. Longo2, and R. Paugam31Laboratoire d'Aérologie, University of Toulouse and CNRS, UMR5560, Toulouse, France 2Center for Weather Forecasting and Climate Studies, INPE, Cachoeira Paulista, Brazil 3Department of Geography, King's College London, London, UK
Received: 12 Dec 2012 – Accepted for review: 17 Jan 2013 – Discussion started: 06 Feb 2013
Abstract. Wild-fires release huge amounts of aerosol and hazardous trace gases in the atmosphere. The residence time and the dispersion of fire pollutants in the atmosphere can range from hours to days and from local to continental scales. These various scenarios highly depend on the injection height of smoke plumes. The altitude at which fire products are injected in the atmosphere is controlled by fire characteristics and meteorological conditions. Injection height however is still poorly accounted in chemistry transport models for which fires are sub-grid scale processes which need to be parametrised. Only recently, physically-based approaches for estimating the fire injection heights have been developed which consider both the convective updrafts induced by the release of fire sensible heat and the impact of background meteorological environment on the fire convection dynamics. In this work, two different models are used to simulate fire injection heights in contrasted meteorological scenarios: a Mediterranean arson fire and two Amazonian deforestation fires. A Eddy-Diffusivity/Mass-Flux approach, formerly developed to reproduce convective boundary layer in the non-hydrostatic meteorological model Meso-NH, is compared to the 1-D Plume Rise Model. For both models, radiosonde data and re-analyses from the European Center for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) have been used as initial conditions to explore the sensitivity of the models responses to different meteorological forcings. The two models predict injection heights for the Mediterranean fire between 1.7 and 3.3 km with the Meso-NH/EDMF model systematically higher than the 1-D PRM model. Both models show a limited sensitivity to the meteorological forcings with a 20–30% difference in the injection height between radiosondes and ECMWF data for this case. Injection heights calculated for the two Amazonian fires ranges from 5 to 6.5 km for the 1-D PRM model and from 2 to 4 km for the Meso-NH/EDMF model. The difference of smoke plume heights between the two models can reach 3–4 km. A large difference is obtained for the windy-wet Amazonian fire by the 1-D PRM model with a injection height 1.5 km higher when ECMWF re-analyses are used compared to the run with the radiosonde forcing. For the Mediterranean case, both models forecast a plume injection height above the boundary layer, although there are evidences that this particular fire propagated near the surface, highlighting the current limitations of the two approaches.
Strada, S., Freitas, S. R., Mari, C., Longo, K. M., and Paugam, R.: One-dimensional simulation of fire injection heights in contrasted meteorological scenarios with PRM and Meso-NH models, Geosci. Model Dev. Discuss., 6, 721-790, doi:10.5194/gmdd-6-721-2013, 2013.