Towards a more comprehensive monitoring of wildfire spread : contributions of model evaluation and data assimilation strategies

Abstract : Because wildfires feature complex multi-physics occurring at multiple scales, our ability to accurately simulate their behavior at large regional scales remains limited. The mathematical models proposed to simulate wildfire spread are currently limited because of their inability to cover the entire range of relevant scales, because also of knowledge gaps and/or inaccuracies in the description of the physics as well as inaccuracies in the description of the controlling input parameters (i.e., the vegetation, topographical and meteorological properties). For this purpose, the uncertainty in regional-scale wildfire spread modeling must be quantified and reduced. In this context, the goals of this thesis are two-fold. First, multi-physics detailed simulations of fire propagation, solving for the flame structure using Navier-Stokes equations for multi-species reacting flow and including radiation heat transfer, biomass pyrolysis as well as a flame/vegetation interface, were performed at the flame scale. These simulations were compared to measurements to provide a comprehensive understanding of the mechanisms underlying fire propagation. Second, the use of a data-driven simulator that sequentially integrates remote sensing measurements and relies on an empirical spread model was explored for regional-scale fire front tracking. The idea underlying this data assimilation strategy was to translate the differences in the observed and simulated fire front locations into a correction of the input parameters of the empirical model or directly of the fire front location via the ensemble Kalman filter algorithm. Since these two approaches account for uncertainties in fire spread modeling and measurements, they improve our ability to forecast wildfire dynamics and plume emissions. These challenges have been identified as a valuable research objective with direct applications in fire emergency response for civil defense and environmental protection.
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Mélanie, Catherine Rochoux. Towards a more comprehensive monitoring of wildfire spread : contributions of model evaluation and data assimilation strategies. Other. Ecole Centrale Paris, 2014. English. ⟨NNT : 2014ECAP0009⟩. ⟨tel-01130329⟩

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