Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Forecasting Fire Dynamics - IOP talk

Yesterday 23 May, I gave this invited talk on Forecasting Fire Dynamics at the Institute of Physics Combustion Group meeting on Combustion Modelling for Challenging Applications, University of Southampton.

It is based on the PhD thesis of Wolfram Jahn (2010), my very first PhD student.

Forecasting Fire Dynamics IOP May 2011

The concept of fire forecast could lead to a paradigm shift in the response to fire emergencies, providing the Fire Service with essential information borne from the combination of sensor observations and computer modelling. Ideas are being borrowed from weather forecast and high performance computing so the technology is currently being developed. Many questions remain to be answered in the next decade but preliminary working models (zone model and CFD) based on an inverse problem approach are already proving predictions with positive lead times. This talk presents the problem framework and explores concepts and results developed to date.

Friday, 20 May 2011

Fundamentals of Combustion Processes, Springer 2011

Spinger has published a new book on combustion. It is based on the long-running undergraduate course at UC Berkeley ME140 Combustion Processes taught originally by Prof Carlos Fernandez-Pello (my former PhD supervisor):

Fundamentals of Combustion Processes 2011, Springer (Amazon $79.11)

The book is very accessible to engineering students interested in combustion but not advanced in their thermal science studies yet. There are few, or none, books for this introductory level. The accompanying dozen videos of laboratory demonstration act as a great illustration of each chapter content.
I am very familiar with the course and the labs, and I highly recommend the textbook for an introductory course. I was Teaching Assistant of this course for four semesters from 2002 to 2005. Such good memories, I loved it.

Monday, 16 May 2011

The park that came back from the dead

I was quoted in the article that The Independent published last Saturday on Spain's wetlands National Park Las Tablas de Daimiel:

The park that came back from the dead

The article quotes some of my comments published in the 2010 interview for El Pais. They said Guillermo Reim, but sure the meant Rein :).

The article summarizes the recent story of the park, from being completely dry due to 5-year drought, to the initiation of smouldering peat fires in summer of 2009, and then to sudden massive rain floods that arrived in early 2010. Now the Park is beautiful. See above a photo-comparison that I made; Nov 2009 vs. Aug 2010. But for how long will the park be flooded as is its natural state? No one knows for certain, and most politicians are not interested in the issue.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Wildfires UK and interviews in the BBC and LBC Radio

The unusual warn and sunny weather spell that we have been enjoying recently over most of the UK has unfortunately led to an intensification of wildfires.

Because of the sudden media attention on the topic, on 4 May I was interview by BBC Radio Wales about wildfire dynamics. You can listen to the audio here. Minutes after, I was interviewed by Nick Ferrari in LBC Radio (97.3).

The worst is about to come if the dry weather continues and the peat dries. Dry peat can ignite easily. Smouldering peat fires are the most devastating fires in the Earth system, and can be linked to climate change.

NOTE: This was the second time I talked to Nick Ferrari in LBC Radio. I talked to him on 19 April about the possible ignition sources of the scrapyard fire in London that led to closure of the M1 road.