Skip to page content
USDA Forest Service

Research & Development Treesearch

Treesearch Home
About Treesearch
Contact Us
Research & Development
Forest Products Lab
International Institute of Tropical Forestry
Pacific Northwest
Pacific Southwest
Rocky Mountain
Southern Research Station
Help - We Participate  Government Made Easy

Global Forest Information Service

US Forest Service
P.O. Box 96090
Washington, D.C.

(202) 205-8333

You are here: Home / Search / Publication Information
Bookmark and Share

Publication Information

View PDF (1.6 MB)

Title: A Wildfire-relevant climatology of the convective environment of the United States

Author: Potter, Brian E.; Anaya, Matthew A.;

Date: 2015

Source: International Journal of Wildland Fire

Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Description: Convective instability can influence the behaviour of large wildfires. Because wildfires modify the temperature and moisture of air in their plumes, instability calculations using ambient conditions may not accurately represent convective potential for some fire plumes. This study used the North American Regional Reanalysis to develop a climatology of the convective environment specifically tied to large fire events. The climatology is based on the period 1979–2009 and includes ambient convective available potential energy (CAPE) as well as values when surface air is warmed by 0.5, 1.0 or 2.0 K or moistened by 0.5, 1.0 or 2.0 g kg-1. Results for the 2.0 K and 2.0 g kg-1 modifications are presented. The results reveal spatial and seasonal patterns of convective sensitivity to added heat or moisture. The patterns suggest that use of ambient CAPE to estimate the potential plume growth of a large wildfire may underestimate that potential in heat- or moisture-sensitive regions.

Keywords: fire behaviour, instability, plume

Publication Notes:

  • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
  • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.



Potter, Brian E.; Anaya, Matthew A. 2015. A wildfire-relevant climatology of the convective environment of the United States. International Journal of Wildland Fire. 9 p.


 [ Get Acrobat ]  Get the latest version of the Adobe Acrobat reader or Acrobat Reader for Windows with Search and Accessibility

USDA logo which links to the department's national site. Forest Service logo which links to the agency's national site.