Fire and flood prediction
After working for more than a decade to tackle the challenges, the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and its research partners have developed the capability to build two new prediction systems--one for wildfires and one for floods. The systems can provide public safety officials with detailed, 12- to 24-hour predictions of these destructive disasters. The fire prediction system can also help guide tactics for prescribed burns. To predict wildfires, scientists use a cutting-edge computer model developed at NCAR, known as the Coupled Atmosphere-Wildland Fire Environment, that simulates both how weather drives fires and how fires create their own weather. By restarting the model every 12 hours with the latest observations of the extent of the fire, scientists can issue 12- to 24-hour forecasts and update them as needed for a long-lived fire. To predict floods, scientists have built a system that relies on radar and stream gauge data, highly detailed computer model weather forecasts, advanced streamflow computer simulations and a variety of statistical techniques. With detail never offered before, the system offers the potential to provide locally specific guidance for decision makers during the crucial 1- to 12-hour window, when there is still time for people to seek safety and for emergency management tools to be deployed.
Provided by NCAR