Calendar Event Details

Charles Gatebe

Affiliation: GESTAR/USRA
Event Date: Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Location: Bldg 33, H114
Time: 3:30 PM

Taking the Pulse of Pyrocumulus Clouds

Large forest fires are a known natural and dominant disturbance factor in high northern latitudes, and form pyrocumulus (pyroCu), and occasionally pyrocumulonimbus (pyroCb) clouds. These clouds can transport emissions into the upper troposphere/lower stratosphere (UT/LS) and produce significant regional and even global climate effects, as is the case with some volcanoes. However, the lack of observational data within pyroCu or pyroCb complicates our ability to investigate pyro-convection and to understand the vertical and cross-isentropic transport mechanisms responsible for UT/LS injection. Using detailed airborne radiation measurements within strong pyroCu, we show that the angular distribution of radiance within the pyroCu is closely related to the diffusion domain in water clouds and described by simple approximations that can be used to calculate the spatial and temporal characteristics of the radiance field, and applied in cloud resolving models. We demonstrate with Monte Carlo simulations that radiation transport in pyroCu is inherently a 3D problem and must account for particle absorption.

Posted or updated: Friday, March 15, 2013

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