Severe convective storms initiated by intense wildfires: Numerical simulations of pyro-convection and pyro-tornadogenesis

Philip Cunningham, Michael John Reeder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

On the afternoon of 18 January 2003, wildfires swept through several outer suburbs of Canberra (Australia) producing, inter alia, a series of large pyro-cumulonimbus cells and at least one tornado. The results of a large-eddy simulation with a parameterized fire are reported here. The simulation, motivated by the Canberra wildfires and severe storms, captures the main characteristics of the observed pyro-cumulonimbi, including the formation of a tornado close to where one was observed. In addition, the model develops prominent horizontally oriented vortices on the western side of the fire in the direction of the low-level shear, and a series of horizontally oriented vortices on the upstream side of the convection column. The production of water by the fire is critical for the development of a pyro-cumulonimbus cell intense enough to reach the tropopause as observed and plays a significant role in the associated tornadogenesis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)L12812-1 - L12812-5
Number of pages5
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Volume36
Publication statusPublished - 2009

Cite this

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title = "Severe convective storms initiated by intense wildfires: Numerical simulations of pyro-convection and pyro-tornadogenesis",
abstract = "On the afternoon of 18 January 2003, wildfires swept through several outer suburbs of Canberra (Australia) producing, inter alia, a series of large pyro-cumulonimbus cells and at least one tornado. The results of a large-eddy simulation with a parameterized fire are reported here. The simulation, motivated by the Canberra wildfires and severe storms, captures the main characteristics of the observed pyro-cumulonimbi, including the formation of a tornado close to where one was observed. In addition, the model develops prominent horizontally oriented vortices on the western side of the fire in the direction of the low-level shear, and a series of horizontally oriented vortices on the upstream side of the convection column. The production of water by the fire is critical for the development of a pyro-cumulonimbus cell intense enough to reach the tropopause as observed and plays a significant role in the associated tornadogenesis.",
author = "Philip Cunningham and Reeder, {Michael John}",
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Severe convective storms initiated by intense wildfires: Numerical simulations of pyro-convection and pyro-tornadogenesis. / Cunningham, Philip; Reeder, Michael John.

In: Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 36, 2009, p. L12812-1 - L12812-5.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Severe convective storms initiated by intense wildfires: Numerical simulations of pyro-convection and pyro-tornadogenesis

AU - Cunningham, Philip

AU - Reeder, Michael John

PY - 2009

Y1 - 2009

N2 - On the afternoon of 18 January 2003, wildfires swept through several outer suburbs of Canberra (Australia) producing, inter alia, a series of large pyro-cumulonimbus cells and at least one tornado. The results of a large-eddy simulation with a parameterized fire are reported here. The simulation, motivated by the Canberra wildfires and severe storms, captures the main characteristics of the observed pyro-cumulonimbi, including the formation of a tornado close to where one was observed. In addition, the model develops prominent horizontally oriented vortices on the western side of the fire in the direction of the low-level shear, and a series of horizontally oriented vortices on the upstream side of the convection column. The production of water by the fire is critical for the development of a pyro-cumulonimbus cell intense enough to reach the tropopause as observed and plays a significant role in the associated tornadogenesis.

AB - On the afternoon of 18 January 2003, wildfires swept through several outer suburbs of Canberra (Australia) producing, inter alia, a series of large pyro-cumulonimbus cells and at least one tornado. The results of a large-eddy simulation with a parameterized fire are reported here. The simulation, motivated by the Canberra wildfires and severe storms, captures the main characteristics of the observed pyro-cumulonimbi, including the formation of a tornado close to where one was observed. In addition, the model develops prominent horizontally oriented vortices on the western side of the fire in the direction of the low-level shear, and a series of horizontally oriented vortices on the upstream side of the convection column. The production of water by the fire is critical for the development of a pyro-cumulonimbus cell intense enough to reach the tropopause as observed and plays a significant role in the associated tornadogenesis.

UR - http://www.agu.org/journals/gl/gl0912/2009GL039262/

M3 - Article

VL - 36

SP - L12812-1 - L12812-5

JO - Geophysical Research Letters

JF - Geophysical Research Letters

SN - 0094-8276

ER -