Atmospheric Circulation Regimes for Prescribed Burns along the U.S. Gulf of Mexico Coast

Authors: Robert Rohli*, Louisiana State University, Wenjia Cao, Louisiana State University, Fenglin Han, Louisiana State University, Anthony J Vega, Clarion University, Nazla Bushra, Louisiana State University
Topics: Climatology and Meteorology, Coastal and Marine
Keywords: atmospheric circulation variability, synoptic climatology, prescribed burns, Gulf of Mexico coast
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/10/2021
Start / End Time: 1:30 PM / 2:45 PM
Room: Virtual 7
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The regional-to-synoptic-scale steering atmospheric circulation is important for advecting energy, mass, and momentum across space, with the near-surface wind being the local manifestation of this circulation. The local winds can affect phenomena of economic, ecological, and/or aesthetic values, such as bird migrations. The purpose of this research is to classify the days from 1979 to 2018 based on their near-surface (i.e., 1000-hPa) and steering level (i.e., 700-hPa) circulation patterns, across the Gulf Coast region of the United States. The resulting patterns, derived from an average-linkage clustering method on rotated principal component scores, are used as input in a fire management plan to restore niches for bird species such as black and yellow rails and mottled ducks. Results suggest that for the (near-surface) 1000-hPa level, a classification system consisting of eight circulation types maximizes the between-group while minimizing the between-group variability, with a total of 95.8 percent of the dataset variance explained, and reasonable correspondence with existing manual, subjective and semi-automated techniques. At the 700-hPa level, a system of eight circulation types was employed, explaining 95.05 percent of the dataset variance. These results will be of assistance as the optimal controlled burn conditions are sought, also provided a rigorous foundation in efforts to minimize advection to populated areas.

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