Pyrocumulonimbus cloud

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Picture of a pyrocumulonimbus cloud, taken from a commercial airliner cruising at about 10 km altitude.[1]

The pyrocumulonimbus cloud (pyroCb) is a type of cumulonimbus cloud that forms above a source of heat, such as a wildfire, and may sometimes even extinguish the fire that formed it. It is the most extreme manifestation of a pyrocumulus cloud. According to the American Meteorological Society’s Glossary of Meteorology, a pyrocumulus is "a cumulus cloud formed by a rising thermal from a fire, or enhanced by buoyant plume emissions from an industrial combustion process."[2] Analogous to the meteorological distinction between cumulus and cumulonimbus, the pyrocumulonimbus is a fire-aided or –caused convective cloud, like a pyrocumulus, but with considerable vertical development. The pyroCb reaches the upper troposphere or even lower stratosphere and may involve precipitation (although usually light),[citation needed] hail, lightning, extreme low-level winds, and in some cases even tornadoes.[3] The pyroCb was named following the discovery that extreme manifestations of this pyroconvection caused direct injection of large abundances of smoke from a firestorm into the lower stratosphere.[4][5][6][7][8][9] A pyrocumulonimbus may often form from the eruption column of a volcano.

Alternate spellings and abbreviations for pyrocumulonimbus that may be found in the literature include pyro-cumulonimbus, pyro-cb, pyro-Cb and pyrocb.[citation needed] The World Meteorological Organization does not recognize the pyrocumulonimbus as a distinct cloud type, but instead classifies it simply as cumulonimbus.

In 2002, various sensing instruments detected 17 distinct pyrocumulonimbi in North America alone.[10]

2003 Canberra Firestorm[edit]

On the 18 of January 2003, a supercell thunderstorm formed from a pyrocumulonimbus cloud[citation needed] associated with a severe wildfire, during the 2003 Canberra bushfires in Canberra, Australia. The supercell resulted in a huge fire tornado, rated at EF3 on the fujita scale, the first confirmed violent fire tornado.[11][better source needed] The tornado and associated fire killed 4 people and injured 492.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Fromm, Michael; Alfred, Jerome; Hoppel, Karl et al. (May 1, 2000). "Observations of boreal forest fire smoke in the stratosphere by POAM III, SAGE II, and lidar in 1998". Geophysical Research Letters (Washington, D.C.: American Geophysical Union) 27 (9): 1407–1410. Bibcode:2000GeoRL..27.1407F. doi:10.1029/1999GL011200. Archived from the original on January 6, 2009. Retrieved August 29, 2013. 
  2. ^ "AMS Glossary". American Meteorological Society. Retrieved 6 January 2012. 
  3. ^ Fromm, M.; Tupper, A.; Rosenfeld, D.; Servranckx, R.; McRae, R. (2006). "Violent pyro-convective storm devastates Australia's capital and pollutes the stratosphere". Geophysical Research Letters 33 (5). Bibcode:2006GeoRL..33.5815F. doi:10.1029/2005GL025161.  edit
  4. ^ Fire-Breathing Storm Systems
  5. ^ Averill, Clare; Logan, Jennifer (August 19, 2004). "Smoke Soars to Stratospheric Heights". Earth Observatory. NASA. Retrieved March 10, 2013. 
  6. ^ Fromm, Michael; Alfred, Jerome; Hoppel, Karl et al. (May 1, 2000). "Observations of boreal forest fire smoke in the stratosphere by POAM III, SAGE II, and lidar in 1998". Geophysical Research Letters (Washington, D.C.: American Geophysical Union) 27 (9): 1407–1410. Bibcode:2000GeoRL..27.1407F. doi:10.1029/1999GL011200. Archived from the original on January 6, 2009. Retrieved August 29, 2013. 
  7. ^ Fromm, M.; Stocks, B.; Servranckx, R. et al. (2006). "Smoke in the Stratosphere: What Wildfires have Taught Us About Nuclear Winter". Eos, Transactions, American Geophysical Union (Washington, D.C.: American Geophysical Union) 87 (52 Fall Meet. Suppl.): Abstract U14A–04. Bibcode:2006AGUFM.U14A..04F. 
  8. ^ Fromm, M.; Servranckx, R. (2003). "Transport of forest fire smoke above the tropopause by supercell convection". Geophysical Research Letters 30 (10). Bibcode:2003GeoRL..30j..49F. doi:10.1029/2002GL016820.  edit
  9. ^ Jost, Hans-Jürg; Drdla, Katja; Stohl, Andreas et al. (June 2, 2004). "In-situ observations of mid-latitude forest fire plumes deep in the stratosphere" (PDF). Geophysical Research Letters (Washington, D.C.: American Geophysical Union) 31 (11). Bibcode:2004GeoRL..3111101J. doi:10.1029/2003GL019253. CiteID L11101. Retrieved August 31, 2013. 
  10. ^ Fire-Breathing Storm Systems
  11. ^ Anja Taylor (6 June 2013). "Fire Tornado". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 6 June 2013.