Fire Weather and Climate Information(NOAA UCSD CAP)

Affiliation(s)PIProject periodFunded by
DAS Brown, Timothy J 12/15/1998 - 06/30/2011 University of California, San Diego

Project Description

Focus of activities this work plan period: 1. Continue working with Geographic Area Coordination Center (GACC) fire weather meteorologists in utilizing monthly and seasonal climate forecasts and information in operations (in particular monthly and seasonal fire outlooks). Emphasis will be placed in 1) development of seasonal fire potential outlooks at the national seasonal assessment workshop (a CLIMAS/CAP cross-RISA activity); and 2) providing climate forecast answers to questions and solutions to forecast problems posed by the GACC meteorologists. 2. Continue development of a climate/weather index related to escaped burns in northern California. This project is at the request of the fire weather meteorologists at the Northern California GACC, and emphasizes a scientific response to a decision-maker question. It is perceived by the meteorologists that a certain combination of meteorological factors is related to an increased risk of escaped burns. The research will investigate this claim by examining a small dataset of fires and associated meteorological conditions leading up to the fire escape event. An attempt will be made to develop an index that describes this situation, and that can then be utilized in a decision response to a forecast. 3. Add value to the newly developed Scripps Santa Ana wind index by examining relationships between the index and fire occurrence and fire potential. Santa Ana wind events are critical fire weather situations for fire management agencies as typically these events lead to rapidly increased fire potential and often large fires once ignition occurs. The two project objectives are 1) establish relationships between the index and fire occurrence/potential; and 2) based on these relationships, develop index criteria that decision-makers can utilize in terms of both fire management strategic and tactical planning. 4. Continue with outreach activities for the two Geographic Area Coordination Centers in California (as well as other regions). This will include training on climate products, information and forecasts as requested by fire weather meteorologists and land management agency personnel. 5. Document the successful development of the California and Nevada Smoke and Air Committee (CANSAC). CANSAC is a consortium of nine federal, state, county and local wildland fire and air quality agencies formed to address short-term prediction issues of fire weather, fire danger, fire behavior, smoke dispersion/transport and air quality as related to wildland fire, prescribed fire and fire use. The study focus will be on documenting steps and interactions in developing a sustainable partnership between scientific and decision-making communities. CANSAC provides a useful example case of a partnership between wildland fire, air quality and atmospheric science research sectors. An approved human subjects survey and literature background review will comprise a journal paper. This project is cross-RISA with CLIMAS. 6. Continue to cross-link with other RISAs. In particular, CEFA will continue to co-organize fire and climate workshops with the University of Arizona CLIMAS project. Efforts will be made to cross-link with other RISAs as opportunity arises. Also, we will inform and provide the RISAs with the process and outcome of CEFA's recent national program review. This is relevant to the RISA program in that it is an example of how stakeholders can evaluate and assess a scientific program aimed at directly meeting their needs.