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Atmosphere 2011, 2(3), 358-388; doi:10.3390/atmos2030358

Modeling Smoke Plume-Rise and Dispersion from Southern United States Prescribed Burns with Daysmoke

1,* , 1
1 Center for Forest Disturbance Science, USDA Forest Service, Athens, GA 30602, USA 2 School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA 30332-0512, USA
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 1 June 2011 / Revised: 8 July 2011 / Accepted: 22 July 2011 / Published: 19 August 2011
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Air Pollution Modeling: Reviews of Science Process Algorithms)


We present Daysmoke, an empirical-statistical plume rise and dispersion model for simulating smoke from prescribed burns. Prescribed fires are characterized by complex plume structure including multiple-core updrafts which makes modeling with simple plume models difficult. Daysmoke accounts for plume structure in a three-dimensional veering/sheering atmospheric environment, multiple-core updrafts, and detrainment of particulate matter. The number of empirical coefficients appearing in the model theory is reduced through a sensitivity analysis with the Fourier Amplitude Sensitivity Test (FAST). Daysmoke simulations for “bent-over” plumes compare closely with Briggs theory although the two-thirds law is not explicit in Daysmoke. However, the solutions for the “highly-tilted” plume characterized by weak buoyancy, low initial vertical velocity, and large initial plume diameter depart considerably from Briggs theory. Results from a study of weak plumes from prescribed burns at Fort Benning GA showed simulated ground-level PM2.5 comparing favorably with observations taken within the first eight kilometers of eleven prescribed burns. Daysmoke placed plume tops near the lower end of the range of observed plume tops for six prescribed burns. Daysmoke provides the levels and amounts of smoke injected into regional scale air quality models. Results from CMAQ with and without an adaptive grid are presented.
Keywords: smoke; prescribed fires; plume model; air quality smoke; prescribed fires; plume model; air quality
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Achtemeier, G.L.; Goodrick, S.A.; Liu, Y.; Garcia-Menendez, F.; Hu, Y.; Odman, M.T. Modeling Smoke Plume-Rise and Dispersion from Southern United States Prescribed Burns with Daysmoke. Atmosphere 2011, 2, 358-388.

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