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Simulations of Buoyancy-Generated Horizontal Roll Vortices over Multiple Heating Lines

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A two-dimensional nonhydrostatic atmospheric model is used to simulate the boundary-layer circulations that develop from multiple lines of extremely high surface temperatures. Numerical simulations are carried out to investigate the role of buoyancy and ambient crossflow effects in generating horizontal roll vortices in the vicinity of adjacent wildland fire perimeters. Numerical results suggest that the downdraft segments of buoyancy-generated horizontal roll vortices can be reinforced when multiple heating lines are present, with the degree of reinforcement dependent on the heating-line spacing. Significant low-level horizontal flow directly over the bounding heating lines is observed in some simulations, suggesting a mechanism for low-level flame migration in actual wildland fires. Multiple heating lines also affect the development and behavior of buoyancy-generated horizontal roll vortices when ambient crossflows are present. Simulations indicate that vortices are more likely to persist for multiple heating lines than for a single heating line when light ambient crossflows are introduced. Although simulation results should be viewed qualitatively, they suggest the potential importance of adjacent fire perimeters in actual wildland fire episodes for the development and behavior of buoyancy-generated horizontal roll vortices. For. Sci. 40(4):601-617.
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Keywords: Nonhydrostatic model; circulation; pressure perturbations; vorticity

Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: Research Meteorologist, North Central Forest Experiment Station, USDA, Forest Service, 1407 S. Harrison Road, East Lansing, MI 48823

Publication date: 1994-11-01

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    Forest Science is a peer-reviewed journal publishing fundamental and applied research that explores all aspects of natural and social sciences as they apply to the function and management of the forested ecosystems of the world. Topics include silviculture, forest management, biometrics, economics, entomology & pathology, fire & fuels management, forest ecology, genetics & tree improvement, geospatial technologies, harvesting & utilization, landscape ecology, operations research, forest policy, physiology, recreation, social sciences, soils & hydrology, and wildlife management.
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