The bushfire convective plume experiment: mobile radar observations of pyro-convection from the Mt Bolton fire, 2016
|Title||The bushfire convective plume experiment: mobile radar observations of pyro-convection from the Mt Bolton fire, 2016|
|Publication Type||Conference Paper|
|Year of Publication||2016|
|Authors||McCarthy, N, McGowan, H, Guyot, A|
|Publisher||Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC|
Immediately above fires are the extremely localised columns of buoyant air known as convective plumes. The intensity and evolution of convective plumes is critical in the understanding of lofting and spotting of firebrands, where plume structure begins to play an important role in how the firebrands are spatially distributed. Weather radar has been demonstrated as a highly effective tool in analysing plume structure and evolution, but there is very little research using mobile radar in the field despite its proven effectiveness in deconstructing the meteorology of severe convection in thunderstorms. In January 2016, observations were taken at two bushfires using a portable dual-polarisation X-band Doppler radar in Victoria. One of these fires at Mt Bolton showed significant plume-driven fire behaviour, with a convective plume extending up to 7 km above the surface captured on the mobile radar. Here we present the initial findings of this observational dataset of convective plume dynamics, with unprecedented detail in resolution including the development of a deep convective cloud above the fire. We also show that a unique differential reflectivity signature within the dual-polarisation data could bear potential links to the identification of ember and firebrand transport within the plume. This is explored for the Mt Bolton fire where several spot fires were documented over 5 km from the fireground.