Routine Prediction of Smoke Transport from Fuel Reduction Burns in Southwest Western Australia


G.A. Mills, D.D.Hess, and R.R. Draxler


Conference Report


Introduction - Several cases of extreme smoke pollution over Perth city in the spring months have highlighted the need to develop accurate techniques to forecast bushfire smoke transport. The events have each attracted widespread media coverage and raised community concerns that the level of smoke pollution may pose a health risk. There has been an increasing demand to provide a forecasting service to alert forestry managers to those days when a major smoke pollution episode is possible.  The Bureau of Meteorology Research Centre (BMRC) has recently developed a mesoscale numerical weather prediction system and, in collaboration with NOAA/ARL, implemented a sophisticated Lagrangian dispersion/transport model for long-range air pollution applications. Linking these two systems provides a method of predicting the paths taken by smoke from bushfires, and was applied daily over southwestern Western Australia during the spring/summer of 1996-7. This paper very briefly describes the NWP model and the dispersion models, demonstrates their application in a case of smoke pollution over Perth in November 1995, and then discusses the utility of the experimental daily smoke trajectory forecasts.


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