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Modelling of Forest Fires and wind Pollutant Effects

#B-643


Modelling of Forest Fires and Wind Pollutant Transport in the Problems of Environment Monitoring and Ecological Expertise

Tech Area / Field

  • ENV-APC/Air Pollution and Control/Environment
  • ENV-MRA/Modelling and Risk Assessment/Environment

Status
3 Approved without Funding

Registration date
17.11.2000

Leading Institute
National Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Belarus / Institute of Informatics Problems, Belarus, Minsk

Collaborators

  • University of Aveiro, Portugal, Aveiro\nMiljo & Energi, Denmark, Roskilde

Project summary

Project objectives:

– development of the integrated model of the forest fire and wind pollutant transport;


– development of the optimal strategies for fire-fighting;
– forecast of the secondary radioactive contamination of the European territory as result of forest fires in Chernobyl zone of Belarus, Russia and Ukraine.

Problem formulation and its actuality.

On our planet annually it occurs more than 200 thousand forest fires, that contaminate atmosphere by millions of tons of the burning down products. The history witnessed the cases of the catastrophic forest fires:

1881, Michigan (USA), about 500 people had been died in the forest fire;


1915, Siberia (Russia), the fire spread over the territory of 10 million hectares. Smoke covered an area equal to the territory of Europe. Smog was holding for 50 days and caused late corn ripening;
1949, Gascone (France). The fire spread over the area of 130 thousand hectares, 82 people died;
1972, European territory of Russia. The forests and peatbogs were in fire on the area of more than one hundred square kilometres during the summer. Smog covered Moscow;
2000, the fire in the outskirts of the Los-Alamos Nuclear Centre in USA. The city authorities evacuated 20 thousands of citizens out of the fire zone, more 200 houses was burnt, there was fear the radioactive contamination of the territory.

Such countries as Spain, Portugal, France, Italy, Germany, Greece, Turkey, and Israel are characterised by the high fire danger, and in the Southern Hemisphere – Australia (great fire occurred in winter 1951-52). Forest fires are usual in Chile, Peru, Argentina, Brazil, and Cuba.

In the USA only the average annual losses from the forest fires make up 1 billion dollars. The annual number of the forest fires on the Earth has increased more than 10 times during the last 500 years. People in 70-90% of the cases caused the fire.

Forest fires forecasting allows to carry on preventive organisational and technical actions for reducing their risk and reducing material and population losses, and also to avoid catastrophic consequences for the most hazardous objects. (Carmichael, G.R., Sandu, A., Potra, F.A., Damian, V., and Damian, M. The current state and the future directions in air quality modeling. – Systems Analysis Modelling Simulation, 25: 75-105 (1996). Karafyllidis, I., Thanailakis, A. A model for predicting of forest fire spreading using cellular automata. - Ecological Modelling, vol. 99, pp. 87-97 (1997).

The proposed Project influence on the progress in the area of forest fires investigation and fire-fighting.

The main purpose of the Project is the integration of the forest fire and the process of pollutant transport through the atmosphere in the united model. Atmosphere processes play the main role in the forest fires, defining their evolution and transport of aerosols in the local, regional and global scale. They also form the levels of biosphere contamination by the most dangerous pollutants, such as radionuclides, pesticides, heavy metals, soot, burning down products, etc.

The quantitative description of the forest fire and the pollutants transport process allows to obtain new fundamental knowledge about the regularities of the fire evolution, to develop scientifically proved strategies for the fire-fighting, to minimise losses caused by fires and also to give the forecast of the contamination zones evolution for Chernobyl region as a result of forest fires and land utilisation work (tillage, melioration, construction, etc.).

There are not analogues of such work.

The Project participants were earlier developing the systems for tracking space missiles and control of anti-missiles in the defence systems. They were developing hardware and software for air and space missiles launching, for checkout equipment and procedures. They were working at the missile testing polygons.

Participants of the Project have the great experience in development of complicated software including those in the field of mathematical modelling of ecological problems. In particular, they created:

– several computer aided cartographic and geoinformation systems (under contracts with Russia, Belarus and India);


– the system for modelling of the wind pollutant transport in the emergency situations (under contract with the Ministry of Emergency, Belarus);
– computer aided system for decision-making support and supervising resources in the events of emergency;
– air flying laboratory, based on the helicopter Ка-26, for the purposes of ecological monitoring.

The Project participants are highly qualified experts in the area of developing of the complicated software, including those related to the environmental problem. Four persons of them are Doctor of Sciences and PhDs, and one completed dissertation.

The expected results.

The Project belongs to the categories of the basic and applied researches. The Project implementation is intended for solving the following tasks:

1. Development of the submodel of the wind pollutant transport and autonomous test of its adequacy to the real data.


2. Development of the submodel for the forest fire and autonomous test of its adequacy to the real data.
3. Integration of the model and its complex verification by tests and real data.
4. Investigation of the forest fire dynamics and estimating efficiency of the existing strategies for the fire-fighting.
5. Development of the new optimal strategies for putting out the forest fires depending on the weather, relief and equipment for putting out the fire.
6. Forecast estimations for dynamics of the secondary radioactive contamination zones for Chernobyl region of Russia, Belarus and Ukraine for the close future as a result of the forest fires and carrying on land utilisation work (tillage, melioration, construction, etc.).

The expected results are the following:

– the integrated computer model for the forest fire and wind pollutant transport of the local and regional levels must be developed for the purposes of environment monitoring and ecological expertise. The model will be used for obtaining new knowledge about the fire evolution and burning down products transport (Tasks 1-3);


– on the basis of the model the existing strategies for the fire-fighting will be experimentally investigated and their efficiency will be estimated. New optimal strategies for putting out the forest fire will be proposed depending on the weather, relief of the terrain, the fire putting out means and equipment applied (Tasks 4, 5);
– the forecast will be considered for the evolution process in the secondary radioactive pollutant zones in Europe as a result of radionuclides transport during forest fires and land utilisation work (tillage, melioration, construction, etc) in Chernobyl region of Russia, Belarus and Ukraine for the next several years (Task 6).

The concrete result of the Project is expected to be the software that belongs to the objects of intellectual property protected by the corresponding laws.

The Project results application.

The Project results can be used for solving the following problems.

– Environment monitoring and ecological expertise. The countries and organisations interested can use the model for carrying on computer aided experiments by the possible scenarios of the forest fires evolution at ecologically important and dangerous objects, such as national parks and reservations, nuclear objects and plants, chemical production objects, oil fields, etc. The aerospace observation data will be used and the quantitative estimation of the supposed losses at different scenarios of the fire evolution and the fire putting out methods applied will be provided.

– Operative model. The Project results can form the base for developing the operative model of the forest fire evolution process forecast, that can be applied at the Ministry of Emergency, Hydro-Meteorological Service, by state authorities, Ministries of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection, Agriculture, Forestry, Defence, Interior, in the headquarters of Civil Defence and other organisations. The operative model can use the data of aerospace observations.

– Firemen training. The model can be effectively used for firemen training and also for working out optimal strategies for the fire-fighting in the specific local conditions.

– Educational process. The model can be used in the secondary special and higher educational institutions (universities) for such courses as "Forest Pyrology", "Forestry", "Techniques and Means for Putting Out the Forest Fires", "Environmental Protection", etc.

The model can also be applied for studying fires at peatbogs, which are characterised by the exclusive complexity of the peat burning processes, when putting down the forest fire using artificial stimulation of the atmosphere precipitation and taking into account the chemical transformations of the burning products.

Meeting ISTC goals and objectives.

The Project corresponds the ISTC goals and objectives:


– it provides weapons scientists and engineers in the CIS the opportunities to redirect their talents to peaceful activities;
– the Project promotes integration of scientists from CIS states into the international scientific community. During the Project implementation it is supposed to establish the long-term co-operation with foreign colleagues from Sweden, Portugal and Greece involved in the same research work;
the Project supports basic and applied research and technology development for peaceful purposes, notably in fields of environmental protection, energy production, nuclear safety. The Project realises the applied and basic researches by the problem of environmental protection being the problem of the first-order importance of ISTS;
– the Project contributes to the solution of national or international technical problems related to the forest fires, protection of the ecologically important regions and dangerous objects, spreading the secondary radioactive contamination;
– the Project reinforces the transition to market-based economies responsive to civil needs of Belarus.

Scope of activity.

The Project implementation is intended for solving the following tasks:


1. Development of the submodel of the wind pollutant transport and autonomous test of its adequacy to the real data.
2. Development of the submodel for the forest fire and autonomous test of its adequacy to the read data.
3. Integration of the model and its complex verification by tests and real data.
4. Investigation of the forest fire dynamics and estimating efficiency of the existing strategies for the fire-fighting.
5. Development of the new optimal strategies for putting out the forest fires depending on the weather, relief and equipment for putting out the fire.
6. Forecast estimations for dynamics of the secondary radioactive contamination zones for Chernobyl region of Russia, Belarus and Ukraine for the close future as a result of the forest fires and carrying on land utilisation work (tillage, melioration, construction, etc.).

The tasks 1 and 2 are fulfilled independently and in parallel. After the general model assembly (task 3) and its complex verification the other tasks are to be solved consequently.

Role of Foreign Collaborators.

For solving the problem of the forest fires the scientists from Portugal (University of Coimbra) are involved, for the problem of pollutant transport – the specialists from Sweden (Meteorological Institute of Uppsala University) and Greece (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki). The scope of cooperation with a foreign institutions:

– information exchange during the Project execution;


– presentation of comments at the papers and reports;
– independent testing the results during the Project execution period;
– holding joint working seminars.

Technical approaches and methodology.

The model consists of two interactive parts: the wind pollutant transport submodel and the forest fire submodel. The forest fire modelling will be realised on the basis of the cellular automata, where the new local rules for transition of the complex system (forest fire) from one state to another will be proposed.

During calculation of the aerosol transport and sedimentation on the underlying surface, it will be taken into account the transport of burning products through the fire front and formation of the new fireplaces as well as the forming and falling out the atmosphere precipitation and the underlying surface relief.

The important problem is the estimation of the influence zones. For solving this problem the idea of the academician Marchuk will be used, when two tasks are considered simultaneously: the main one – direct modelling the emission into the atmosphere and the adjoint task – calculation of the influence area and the integral characteristics of contamination for the analysing region.

There is the certain scope of work in the form of algorithms tested earlier and active software samples, that has been already done by both submodels the forest fire and wind transport of pollutants.

The Project "know-how" objects are: new local rules (laws) for transition of the complicated system (the forest fire) from one state into another; solving the adjoint task of transport the admixture for defining the influence zones and for calculating of the integral contamination for the analysed region; topographic electronic maps for the region with the characteristics of combustibility and/or the fire danger of the underlying surface.


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