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Rebecca Schultz

Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, UW-Madison

Advancing Hyperspectral Sounder Applications in Analysis of Pyrocumulonimbus Events

Room 811 AOSS, April 26, 2017, 2:30 PM


With a combination of geostationary and polar-orbiting sensors, the identification of severe pyroconvection events has improved in recent years. In our study, we focus on the most extreme of these events, called Pyrocumulonimbus (PyroCb), where the plumes can grow within hours to impact the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere. The impacts of such events span to stratospheric chemistry, aviation, and global climate. The atmospheric environment preceding these PyroCb events can be diagnosed through the use of hyperspectral data. This study aims to analyze the state of the atmosphere throughout the lifecycle of a PyroCb event in order to better understand the evolution and structure of PyroCb clouds. Hyperspectral sounder measurements from instruments such as the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) aboard the EOS-Aqua satellite, the Cross-track Infrared Sounder (CrIS) aboard the Suomi-NPP satellite, and the Infrared Atmospheric Sounding Interferometer (IASI) aboard the MetOp-A and MetOp-B satellites, provide temperature and humidity profiles of high vertical resolution. These profiles are used in this study to investigate PyroCb development during the Yarnell Hill Wildfire in Yarnell, Arizona during June 2013 and the Fort McMurray Wildfire in Fort McMurray, Alberta during May 2016. We aim to demonstrate the potential use of these hyperspectral sounder measurements and moisture retrievals in the characterization and analysis of PyroCb events, as well as for real-time environmental monitoring and forecasting purposes.

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