Smoke Plume DynamicsThis article is part of a larger document. View the larger document here.
Smoke plume dynamic science focuses on understanding the various smoke processes that control the movement and mixing of smoke. A current challenge facing this research is providing timely and accurate smoke information for the increasing area burned by wildfires in the western USA. This chapter synthesizes smoke plume research from the past decade to evaluate the current state of science and identify future research needs. Major advances have been achieved in measurements and modeling of smoke plume rise, dispersion, transport, and superfog; interactions with fire, atmosphere, and canopy; and applications to smoke management. The biggest remaining gaps are the lack of high-resolution coupled fire, smoke, and atmospheric modeling systems, and simultaneous measurements of these components. The science of smoke plume dynamics is likely to improve through development and implementation of: improved observational capabilities and computational power; new approaches and tools for data integration; varied levels of observations, partnerships, and projects focused on field campaigns and operational management; and new efforts to implement fire and stewardship strategies and transition research on smoke dynamics into operational tools. Recent research on a number of key smoke plume dynamics has improved our understanding of coupled smoke modeling systems, modeling tools that use field campaign data, real-time smoke modeling and prediction, and smoke from duff burning. This new research will lead to better predictions of smoke production and transport, including the influence of a warmer climate on smoke.