Experience not directly expressed in Vita:
While a graduate student at New Mexico Tech, I held a position as half-time graduate assistant to Dr. Marx Brook, who was also my graduate advisor. During that apprenticeship, nearly seven years, I directly participated in all aspects of investigation of lightning behavior and cloud physics. I designed and constructed electronic equipment to measure thunder and the electromagnetic pulses from lightning including magnetic fields as used in lightning location by directional sensing. I directly worked on adapting military radars, particularly the SCR-584 and the Nike Hercules 3-cm, for cloud physics investigation. I operated these adapted radars and gathered data from them. During that time, I also designed and constructed a 3-cm radar, fully steerable in altitude and azimuth, for use in ground-water hydrology studies. During construction of this radar, I originated the concept of illuminating the distributed target of cloud droplets with transmitted pulses using klystron amplified wide bandwidth noise rather than single frequency pulsed magnetrons. This technique results in a much higher sensitivity of the radar to volumes of cloud droplets. A radar was built on this principle enabling a cloud scan every 6 seconds, rather than the order of minutes as previously done.
In addition, I designed and constructed in its entirety the equipment necessary to study, for my PhD thesis, scattering at any angle from individual water drops. The drops were suspended singly in a vertical wind tunnel that I also designed and built.
While at the University of Miami, I continued studying atmospheric electricity, at first over the ocean, later on land. I assisted Dr. Roger LHermitte, one of the world’s premier cloud radar physicists, with design and construction while carrying on my own atmospherical electrical investigations. I was also involved with use of passive radiometers at microwave frequencies for sea surface studies.
I partnered with a Florida manufacturer of radar chaff to assess use of their product for measurement of geophysical fluid dynamics parameters in cloud and in clear air. The investigation used the company’s Nike radars, using my experience with those radars. I also constructed a small chamber and measured the fall velocity of the chaff fibers, which are of course cylinders with diameters small compared to their length. Because the fibers are a biohazard due to small size and glass fiber construction, the endeavor unfortunately had to be abandoned, although tests substantiated the usefulness of the technique.
I gathered atmospheric electrical data during the GATE experiment aboard the NCAR research aircraft in Western Africa. I was also affiliated with the Radar Laboratory, at that time funded mostly by the Navy, which was, among other things, used to teach radar meteorology to military weather observers. I also taught courses in Meteorological fluid dynamics and instrumentation. I also consulted fellow faculty members on matters of instrument design and measurement techniques. While at the University of Miami, I received three National Science Foundation grants, one Air Force contract, and one contract with the Tethered lighter-than-air systems section of Westinghouse Co. During the course of the Air Force contract, I became accomplished at handling small and large tethered balloon systems. User-oriented research was done on lightning protection for very large (106 ft3) tethered balloon systems.
Following is a summary of activity while at the USDA Forest Service Fire Sciences Laboratory, Missoula, MT. In addition to the listed items, I assisted my colleagues with measurement, selection of computing resources, design of specialized equipment, selection of optical and infrared cameras, and use of radar and other weather service data.
A new method for measuring fuel moisture in "10-hour sticks" or other
solid fuels was developed and a preliminary test made. Results were propagated in-house by informal report.
RWU-2101 has designed the Lightning Risk component of the National Fire Danger Rating System (NFDRS). Development of this design required a fresh look at the way in which fires in wildland fuels are ignited by lightning discharges. I found, by theoretical investigation, that direct heating of the fine fuels through which the continuing current portion of the lightning discharge passes, rather than radiation heating of fuels outside the path of the discharge, was the cause of ignition and estimates were made of the energy content of the continuing current portion of the lightning discharge. This investigation resulted in formation of an ignition criterion. The model includes fuel moisture and fuel bulk density, and yields an ignition
probability. The ignition probability was applied in the development of the overall Lightning Risk estimator. The Lightning Risk estimator is expected to have use outside of the NFDRS as a part of a real-time lightning location system implemented by the BLM.
During the course of development of the Lightning Risk estimator, it became apparent that the continuing current portion of the lightning discharge had not been investigated beyond a few observations of current flow. In order to obtain valid energy numbers for use in the Lightning Risk estimator, I generated a computer model for the continuing current channel. This model has been checked
against the small amount of existing data, and further measurements are under way.
I initiated and obtained a cooperative agreement with the BLM to direct data retrieval, storage, and interpretation to implement the application of lightning
location to fire management. This agreement started in 1978 and terminated in 1983. I's algorithms for ignition probability were used by the Bureau of Land Management in 1982-1983 pilot studies, in the National Fire Danger Rating
System, and by Canadian Forestry Research.
My Lightning location reporting system as published is in use by the U.S. Weather Service and by the Forestry Service in the Canadian province of
British Columbia. (1984)
I completed my current research on ignition of forest fuels by electric arc discharge. This work involved design, testing, experimental design, preliminary experiments, and supervision of the remainder of the experiments necessary to determine ignition probabilities. He has cast the results in a useable format. At least two implementations of the results are under way. One of these is in the extensive fire dispatching systems under development by Canadian Forestry Research at their centre in Petawawa, ON. The other implementation is under way at the Bureau of Land Management, Boise Interagency Fire Center, Initial Attack Management System. I proceeded on this basis to get field feedback and implement the technology transfer as rapidly as possible. The published report of the research itself is ongoing.
I uncovered and measured for the first time a new phenomenon, the presence of high percentages of positive lightning discharges, connected with the plumes and clouds generated by large natural and prescribed fires. This work won the Irving Langmuir award from his graduate institution. Work on this phenomenon is important to understanding of charge generation in thunderstorms, and to potential firestarts and safety in prescribed burns. Research is ongoing.
I developed a one-dimensional plume model for use by fire and smoke managers. The model can be used to estimate plume heights and possible cumulus activity resulting from fires. It uses a virtual boundary condition and a unique method for preventing propagation of truncation errors. The program incorporating the model is currently in beta test.
I has generated an RJVA with Systems For Environmental Management to port and develop software for the weather analog and the RAMS mesoscale model. Work is ongoing
I initiated an RJVA with Forestry Technology Systems to investigate the behavior of 10-hour fuel sticks. The work involves team members as well as FTS. The data has been taken, reports are in progress.
I initiated an agreement with the Division of Fire Protection, Dept. of Forestry, British Columbia. This agreement is to investigate the BC lightning detection system and its efficiency, and to use I's lightning ignition models and plume model in their overall fire management system, including links to other weather data including radar.
I conducted interviews with several assistant Chiefs of the Los Angeles City and County Fire Departments regarding construction of an expert system for wildland fires in their jurisdiction. A report was delivered to Logisys, Inc. to fulfill the small co-op agreement he had with them.
I, together with R. Rothermel, developed a method for estimating the "end of the fire season" in the Rocky mountains.
I recorded, for the first time, the presence of a strong emission line from Potassium in forest fires. This emission can be used to distinguish fire from other phenomena. Work on this and the spectrum of fire continues in partnership with the Rochester Institute of Technology.
I, as Research Work Unit Project Leader, began a multi-scientist research project together with Canadian Forestry Research. This team measured wind velocities, radiant and convective heat transfer, and took in-fire video of crown fires in the Northwest Territories. The techniques developed in those studies are now applied to “quick-response” investigation of fires, including infrared and visible aircraft measurements. This experiment was done over a three year period.
I sought partnership with the Southwest Research Station and National Center for Atmospheric Research to connect fire models to geophysical fluid dynamic models to vastly improve fire prediction models, both for fire behavior and smoke generation and dispersal. This work continues.
One of the research topics I studied was the potential use of wind models for fireline application. A number of diagnostic models (physics-based interpolation) were available, including Army models from White Sands Missle Range and Aberdeen proving ground, British Columbia Fire Research models based on work by Denard, a model developed by Forest Service Research (NUATMOS), a model funded by the Electric Products Research Institute, and others. None of these models proved useful, for two reasons. All required more input information than was available on on-going fires, especially vertical information (soundinggs) and their static (diagnostic) character did not enable development in time. Prognostic models, such as RAMS, from the U of Colorado, or models developed at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, Penn State, or the Naval Postgradute School, also required too much input information and computing facilities to be practical for use in the fire environment. The search did, however, produce a fruitful dialog with atmospheric dynamics researchers leading to the marriage of fire models with dynamic atmospherioc models. I held several small workshops at the Fire Lab to facilitate this interaction. There was (and is) insufficient funding for this mix of research fields to enable a serious attack on the problem. A NSF proposal has had rough sledding, but is currently in the pipeline. The tip of this iceberg is shown in the publications section.
During my time with the Fire Lab, I taught classes on lightning and the use of lightning information in fire danger rating many times to Weather Service Fire Weather Forecasters, to students at the University of Montana, Canadian Forestry Research, Montana Power, the Missoula Electric Coop, and Fire Safety Conferences. I have given many talks about the interaction of fire and power lines, including the effect of smoke, and engaged in several telephone conversations on the same topic.
By request, a study of ignition of chipped railroad ties by cigarettes was done under my supervision. Also by request, my opinion and calculations were sought regarding ignition of wildland fire by exhaust particles and by hot chips from loader prongs. The latter included weighing the chips, estimating their travel through air, heat loss during travel, and remaining heat after the flight.