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Carbon Cycle & Ecosystems

Two concerns associated with smoke from wildfires and prescribed burns are adverse health impacts and visibility reduction. Alabama, a GOMA member state, is often impacted by episodic smoke transport from within the state, surrounding states and also Central America and Mexico. A typical example is the massive Georgia-Florida forest fires of 2007 that impacted Alabama, during which respiratory illness among sensitive groups was exacerbated. There are also instances of smoke from forest fires causing highway accidents in Alabama. The National Weather Service (NWS) and the Alabama Forestry Commission (AFC) are two agencies that require prognostic air quality and visibility information during wildfire and prescribe burn events. This project proposes to transition AERO-RAMS, a mesoscale smoke transport modeling system driven by NASA Earth Science Research Results (NASA ESRR) to predict smoke concentration, air quality and visibility degradation during wildfire and prescribe burn events. Enhancements over the existing smoke transport capabilities of NWS include consideration of contributions from other aerosol species, constraining of modeled aerosol field using MODIS derived aerosol optical depth and explicit visibility estimates all implemented within the Advanced Weather Interactive Processing System (AWIPS). Enhancements to AFC decision making are predictions of air quality and visibility during wildfire events and an interactive modeling capability for hypothetical prescribe burn scenarios, implemented within Virtual Alabama, a Google Earth based system developed by the Alabama Department of Homeland Security (ALDHS) with the express purpose of decision support through the sharing of information between different government agencies. The proposed system will enhance decision support related to NWS issuance of advisories during wildfires events and prescribed burns, and wildfire control activities of the AFC. The proposed effort will train the end users, quantify the enhancements to decision support from the use of NASA ESRR and transition the operational and interactive AERO-RAMS modeling system.

Project PI: Udaysankar Nair/University of Alabama in Huntsville

Earth Systems Science Center, University o f Alabama in Huntsville, Huntsville AL 35899, USA

Email: nair@nsstc.uah.edu

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Started: Sep 27, 2010

Last Activity: Feb 09, 2011

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