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Fire Weather 1

Learning and Assessment Strategy

Ed. 1.0 16 November, 2007


First published October 2007 in Australia by: CFA Operations, CFA Headquarters, 8 Lakeside Drive, Burwood East, Victoria 3151. CFA 2007 Other than that permitted under the Copyright Act 1968, no part of this publication may be reproduced by any means without written permission from the Country Fire Authority Victoria. Enquiries should be addressed to the publisher.

Learning and Assessment Strategy

Table of Contents
Learning Materials Control Sheet ..................................................................................3 Record of Issues............................................................................................................3 Contact for Enquiries and Proposed Changes ..............................................................3 Unit SROOPS003B Apply Weather Information ............................................................4 Competency Map...........................................................................................................5 Program Introduction .....................................................................................................6 Session 1: Meteorological Concepts ............................................................................7 Session 2: Understanding Weather Charts .................................................................20 Session 3: Satellite and Radar Interpretation ..............................................................27 Session 4: Weather Chart Activity ...............................................................................33 Session 6: Weather and Fire Danger Indices ..............................................................46 Session 7: Bureau of Meteorology Products & Services .............................................55 Session 8: Weather observations on the Fire Ground (including Weather Observation Activity) ........................................................................................................................64 Session 9: Group Activity.............................................................................................73 Session / Program Review ..........................................................................................75

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Learning and Assessment Strategy

Learning Materials Control Sheet


Record of Issues
Issue No 1.0 Issue Date 18/09/2007 Nature of Amendment Learning and Assessment Strategy

Contact for Enquiries and Proposed Changes


If you have any questions regarding this learning document please contact the responsible area identified below:

Name Designation

Peter Reynolds Project Officer Learning and Development CFA Headquarters, 8 Lakeside Drive, Burwood East, Victoria 3151.

Phone Email

(03) 9262 8502 p.reynolds@cfa.vic.gov.au

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Learning and Assessment Strategy

Unit SROOPS003B Apply Weather Information


This unit has been developed for the Outdoor Recreation Industry Training Package. This unit covers the knowledge and skills required to access and interpret meteorological data in order to plan outdoor activities. The Country Fire Authority (CFA) and Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) have adopted this unit as a basis of providing training for their members in fire weather.

Elements and Performance Criteria


Element 1. Apply weather information 2. Interpret weather information Performance Criteria 1. Identify sources of relevant weather information. 2. Obtain general meteorological data. 3. Access area specific information. 1. Interpret meteorological data in terms of likely weather conditions in areas which are to be used for an activity. 2. Interpret Bureau of Meteorology forecasts and warnings in terms of future weather conditions in areas which are to be used for an activity. 3. Assess additional relevant information that is relevant to the predicted weather. 4. Evaluate current and predicted weather conditions in terms of their effect on a planned outdoor activity. 5. Modify activity plans, if necessary, following consideration of weather information.

Critical aspects of evidence


Assessment must confirm sufficient knowledge of types and sources of meteorological data relevant to at least one type of outdoor recreation activity. Assessment of performance should be over two (2) different locations / sites in order to ensure consistency of performance over the Range Statements and contexts applicable to applying weather information relevant to at least one type of outdoor activity covering the prescribed number of categories from the Range Statements. In particular, assessment must confirm the ability to: Apply weather information in an activity specific context to at least one type of outdoor recreation activity to make reasonable predictions, based on different meteorological data.

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Learning and Assessment Strategy

Competency Map SROOPS003B Apply Weather Information


Elements of competency unit addressed in this training program
1. Apply Weather Information 2. Interpret Weather Information Underpinning Knowledge Skills Assessment Remarks

Sessions Introduction Meteorological Concepts Understanding Weather Charts Satellite and Radar Interpretation Weather Chart Activity Local Weather Effects Weather and Fire Danger Indices Bureau of Meteorology Fire Weather Products & Services Weather Observations on the Fire Ground Group Activity

9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9

9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9

9 9 9 9

Q17 Q8 Q 9 11 Weather Chart Activity Q 12 14 Q 15 16 Q 17 19

9 9

Q 20 & Weather Observation Activity Group Activity

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Learning and Assessment Strategy

Section 1 Learning Strategy Program Introduction Help learners to feel comfortable about attending this Program Welcome participants. Introduce yourself as course convener give details such as name, background and qualifications to deliver this training program. Introduce the importance of weather knowledge in relation to preparedness and fire ground activity. Ice-breaker if required. Inform learners of Programs aim and objectives: Show S1 Program overview. Discuss the topics to be covered during the day and how it will be assessed: Inform learners of Programs timetable: 20 multiple choice questions to be done throughout the day (give the sheet to attendees at the start of the day) Weather Chart Activity Weather Observation Activity Group Activity S2 Slide (S) 1 Program Introduction

Aids

Time 10 min

Show S2 Timetable Discuss the program timetable (sessions and timings) and explain how the program will be conducted.

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Learning and Assessment Strategy

Section 2 Learning Strategy Session 1: Meteorological Concepts Time: 50 min Aids S1 Time

Introduce Session:

This training session will introduce several fundamental meteorological concepts that act as a foundation to the understanding of weather charts, forecasts and fire weather.

Inform learners of Session enabling objectives: Inform learners of Session outline: Stimulate recall of prior / prerequisite learning?:

Show S2 learning outcomes. Discuss the learning outcomes detailed on the slide. Clarify participant understanding of aims / objectives as required. Show S3 discuss and clarify as required.

S2

S3

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Learning and Assessment Strategy

Section 3 . Session 1 Meteorological Concepts Content Points Scenario photo of smoke plume from a large wild fire. Instructional Method Discuss with attendees why weather knowledge is essential on the fire ground. Draw out there experience course attendees may have worked on major wildfires etc. Discuss the differences between weather and climate. Practice / Feedback Assessment S4

Time: 50 min Aids / Refs

What is weather and climate Weather describes the state of the atmosphere and how it varies over short time periods from hours to days. Climate refers to the long term weather conditions at a location over months or years, or average weather. What is fire weather Fire weather describes the atmospheric conditions of weather and climate in which: (a) a wildfire is likely to be ignited (b) a wildfire is difficult to suppress Key weather components Temperature (hotness), humidity (moisture), wind, precipitation (any water particulate matter) and pressure.

S5

Ask attendees what fire weather might be high temperature, low RH and high winds. Discuss how a fire might become ignited or difficult to suppress. Briefly introduce each parameter using information in the Learning Manual. Use diagram to discuss concept of atmospheric pressure i.e. on earth we have the weight of the atmosphere pressing down on us. Mention that sea level pressure is used when taking weather observations to rule out the effects of taking observations at different elevations. Q4 and Q5

S6

S7

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Learning and Assessment Strategy

Section 3 . Session 1 Meteorological Concepts Content Points Composition of the atmosphere Dry composition of the atmosphere is 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen, and 1% other (argon, CO2 and other trace gases). Up to 4% of composition can be water vapour. Vertical structure of the atmosphere Features of the stratosphere and troposphere weather is contained to the troposphere because of the temperature inversion between the troposphere and the stratosphere. Thermosphere and mesosphere have less influence on weather on earth so they are not discussed. Global Circulation Global circulation describes atmospheric motion over the earth Discuss the notion of global circulation the wind; clouds etc are all moving and inter-linked. This topic that will be discussed in more detail in the coming slides. Discuss the reduced sunlight per square metre experienced at the poles and that it is not related to the greater distance from the poles to the sun (this is insignificant because of the huge distance from the sun to earth 150 million km). Emphasise that fundamentally, solar energy drives the weather. Discuss idea of an air parcel and how warm air Q1 S11 S10 Instructional Method Discuss the composition of the atmosphere. Mention the importance of water vapour in transferring energy around the globe. Practice / Feedback Assessment S8

Time: 50 min Aids / Refs

Discuss the vertical structure of the atmosphere making special reference to the fact that weather is in the troposphere because of a temperature inversion.

S9

Incoming solar radiation Solar energy combined with earths geometry drives the weather.

Warm air rises


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S12
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Section 3 . Session 1 Meteorological Concepts Content Points Heating causes air to expand and become less dense it will rise if surrounded by colder air. Cold air sinks Cooling air causes it to contract and become denser it will sink if surrounded by warmer air. Instructional Method will rise because it is less dense. Talk about how a hot air balloon works or a similar analogy. Discuss in relation to S12. Introduce the concept of stability. Stability refers to the degree of turbulence in the atmosphere where greater stability implies lower levels of turbulence; it is the property of the atmosphere that enhances or suppresses vertical motion. Stability is determined by the vertical temperature profile of the atmosphere i.e. how temperature varies with altitude. In an unstable situation, an air parcel will rise because it is warmer than the surrounding air. Conversely, in a stable situation, an air parcel will sink because it is cooler than the surrounding air. A condition of neutral stability will result if the air parcel has the same temperature as the surrounding environment. Pressure at the earths surface Variations in surface pressure result from differential heating. Rising air creates a relative void low pressure. Sinking air creates a pileup of mass high pressure. Simplified atmospheric circulation Atmosphere of a non-rotating earth warmed at
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Time: 50 min Practice / Feedback Assessment Aids / Refs

S13

Discuss the concept of pressure and how differences in pressure arise due to different parts of the earth being heated to different degrees. Relate this to warmer environments at the equator and colder environments at the poles. Discuss simplified atmospheric circulation as air moves from the poles (cool, sinks, high pressure) to the equator (warms, rises, low

S14

S15

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Learning and Assessment Strategy

Section 3 . Session 1 Meteorological Concepts Content Points the equator and cooled at the poles air moves from the poles to the equator in a single circulation cell. But in reality this does not occur because: The earth spins on its axis once every 24 hours. There are seasonal variations in solar heating. The earth does not posses a uniform surface or atmosphere. A dynamic earth Seasons occur due to earths rotation and the tilt of the earths spin axis to its orbit axis. Variations in earths surface and atmospheric composition. Discuss the variations in solar radiation, and in the earths surface different thermal properties are evident e.g. cities warm and cool quickly on a daily basis, oceans warm and cool seasonally. Discuss the variable composition of the earths atmosphere, particularly water vapour. Discus how a real atmosphere is different to the simplified atmosphere and mention that to understand a real atmosphere we need to consider Coriolis force and surface winds. Coriolis force Force that deflects to the left (right) in the southern (northern) hemisphere. Discuss the degree of deflection due to Coriolis force as being proportional to wind speed, latitude, time period and scale of system quicker speeds, higher latitude, longer time period and larger scale gives a greater S17 S16 Instructional Method pressure) in a single circulation cell. Discuss that because the earth is not a uniform, static system this does not occur. The earth does not experience a constant heating the earth experiences seasons and diurnal changes. This leads onto S16. Practice / Feedback Assessment

Time: 50 min Aids / Refs

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Learning and Assessment Strategy

Section 3 . Session 1 Meteorological Concepts Content Points Instructional Method deflection to the left in the southern hemisphere. Discuss water running around the plug hole the opposite way in the northern and southern hemisphere this is a fallacy! Too small-scale and too a short time period it depends more on the bath or sink design. A real atmosphere Actual global circulation occurs through: Variations in solar heating Variations in earths surface features and atmosphere Coriolis force Discuss how the rotation of the earth causes 3 cells to form in each hemisphere and how air is exchanged throughout the global atmosphere as a result. Weather moves generally from west to east across Australia. Bring together all information from the previous slides. Discuss in relation to global atmospheric circulation and that weather charts will be discussed in more detail in Session 2. Q2 S19 S18 Practice / Feedback Assessment

Time: 50 min Aids / Refs

Average global conditions February Global weather map showing high and low pressure zones for southern hemisphere summer. The sub-tropical high pressure ridge lies over the southern tip of Australia. Average global conditions August Global weather map showing high and low pressure zones for southern hemisphere summer. The sub-tropical high pressure ridge lies further north over Australia when compared to
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Relate to S19.

Q2

S20

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Learning and Assessment Strategy

Section 3 . Session 1 Meteorological Concepts Content Points summer. Pressure gradient force Atmosphere tries to push air from high to low pressure this is the PGF. Discuss how we now have an idea of global circulation but how does wind occur? What causes it? How does this affect us on a more local/regional scale? Discuss how wind is from the atmosphere pushing air from high to low pressure. Synoptic scale winds in the mid-latitudes PGF pushes air from high to low pressure. And over time, Coriolis force deflects the air to the left. Eventually a balance between PGF and Coriolis force is reached with the wind then parallel to the isobars. Wind strength and pressure gradient The closer together the isobars, the greater the wind strength. High and low pressure centres As a result of the balance between PGF, Coriolis force and centrifugal force (force away from a rotating body) winds blow anticlockwise around high pressure centres (or anticyclones) and clockwise around low pressure centres (or cyclones). The influence of friction
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Time: 50 min Instructional Method Practice / Feedback Assessment S21 Aids / Refs

Discuss the force balance. Discuss the fact that if you stand with your back to the wind in Australia the area of low pressure will be on your right.

S22

Discuss isobars (analogous to contour lines on a topographical map) and mention that weather maps will be covered in more detail in Session 2. Discuss high and low pressure centres. Mention that a high pressure centre over the Tasman Sea often gives hot and dry winds to Victoria because of the anticlockwise flow as air travels over warm inland areas before reaching Victoria typical of extreme fire weather. Discuss how friction impedes the wind and alters

S23

S24

S25
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Learning and Assessment Strategy

Section 3 . Session 1 Meteorological Concepts Content Points Friction acts in opposite direction to wind and slows it down. A force balance is reached between friction, PGF, Coriolis and centrifugal where the wind veers towards low pressure. High and low pressure systems under the influence of friction Wind is deflected towards the region of lower pressure due to friction. Air is deflected away from the centre of the high i.e. sinking air in a high pressure centre diverges and moves outwards at the earths surface. Air is deflected towards the centre of the low, converges and is forced to rise. Wind and the weather map This representative weather chart shows a low pressure zone over the Tasman Sea and a high pressure zone over the Bight. Wind direction is indicated by arrows. Discuss the wind direction and strength with reference to isobars etc and that air is sinking and diverging in a high, and converging and rising in a low. Ask attendees what weather they think may result from these different pressure systems this leads onto S28. Discuss that good weather is more likely in high pressure situations. S28 S27 Instructional Method wind direction it veers towards low pressure. Mention differences in levels of friction from mountains, cities, oceans etc and how wind is slowed to different degrees. Discuss how low and high pressure systems are subject to friction. Emphasise that air sinks and diverges (as it hits the earths surface) in a high pressure regime, and that air converges and rises in a low pressure system. Q3 S26 Practice / Feedback Assessment

Time: 50 min Aids / Refs

Weather and high pressure The likely weather conditions under high pressure conditions. Weather and low pressure
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Discuss that bad weather is more likely in low

S29
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Learning and Assessment Strategy

Section 3 . Session 1 Meteorological Concepts Content Points The likely weather conditions under low pressure conditions. Airmasses Airmasses are characterised according to their source origin. Instructional Method pressure situations. Discuss what might influence the characteristics of an airmass. This leads onto S31 and S32. Repeat example of a high pressure centre over the Tasman Sea often giving hot and dry winds to Victoria because of the anticlockwise flow as air travels over warm inland areas before reaching Victoria. Mention that slow moving air has more time to become influenced by the underlying surface conditions. Summer airmass characteristics Victoria is mainly subjected to continental airmasses during the summer. Winter airmass characteristics Victoria is mainly subjected to maritime airmasses during the winter. Ridges and troughs A ridge is an area of elongated high pressure. Ridges are associated with anticyclonic flow (anticlockwise winds in the southern hemisphere) and generally extend from a
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Time: 50 min Practice / Feedback Assessment Aids / Refs

Q7

S30

Discuss the different summer airmasses. Mention that southern maritime flows can be very dry sometimes when they would be expected to be moist. Discuss the different winter airmasses. Mention that southern maritime flows can be very dry sometimes when they would be expected to be moist. Discuss ridges and troughs, and how people are familiar with the terms as they are often mentioned in the media.

S31

S32

S33

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Learning and Assessment Strategy

Section 3 . Session 1 Meteorological Concepts Content Points parent high pressure system (but not in all cases). Ridges typically bring light winds and clear weather. A trough is an area of relatively low pressure. Troughs are associated with cyclonic flow (clockwise winds in the southern hemisphere) and frequently extend from a parent low pressure system (but not in all cases). Troughs typically bring unsettled cloudy weather and precipitation. Fronts Fronts are the boundaries between airmasses of different densities. The four types of fronts are: cold, warm, occluded and stationary. Cold fronts are most relevant to Victoria and these are discussed in detail in the next few slides. Introduce the four types cold, warm, occluded and stationary: Cold front denser cold air approaching and undercutting less dense warm air forcing it upwards. Warm front less dense warm air approaching and riding over denser colder air. Occluded front cold front catching up with a warm front. Stationary front this occurs when an advancing cold or warm front stops moving temporarily. It becomes a cold or warm front upon recommencing is travel. Q6 S34 Instructional Method Practice / Feedback Assessment

Time: 50 min Aids / Refs

Mention that fronts were named in the late 1910s after their similarity to battle lines of
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Learning and Assessment Strategy

Section 3 . Session 1 Meteorological Concepts Content Points WW1. Cold front Boundary between a cold airmass moving towards a warmer airmass. A backward sloping face forms as cool dense air slides undercuts the warm less dense air ahead. Moisture in the warm air condenses and forms clouds and precipitation. Strong and gusty winds, rain and thunderstorms are all typical of a cold front passing an area. Profile of a cold front Cold fronts in Victoria Typical weather changes associated with the passage of a cold front in Victoria: Strengthening and gusty northeasterly to northwesterly winds before the front Increasing evidence of instability such as cumulus cloud or developing thunderstorms A west to southwesterly wind change which can be quite abrupt and bring severe squalls A moderation of the wind speed and a
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Time: 50 min Instructional Method Practice / Feedback Assessment Aids / Refs

Discuss the characteristics of a cold front. This leads onto S36.

Q6

S35

Reiterate what was discussed for S35. Discuss examples of weather changes associated with cold fronts in Victoria. Mention that Victorias weather typically moves west to east so cold fronts impact the west of the state firstly and that the passage of a front can be monitored by automatic weather stations, satellites etc.

Q6 Q6

S36 S37

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Learning and Assessment Strategy

Section 3 . Session 1 Meteorological Concepts Content Points clearing of the weather behind the front Wind changes A wind change refers to a distinct shift of wind from one direction to another, typically a change of greater than 30 where wind speeds before or after the change are 10 km/h or more. In Victoria this term is used to describe the vigorous passage of a cold front because these conditions are generally met. Cold fronts, wind changes and fire behaviour Cold fronts, or changes, have a significant impact on fire behaviour: The strong, gusty, hot and dry north to northwesterly winds prior to the change will promote fast moving intense fires Developing thunderstorms may produce new fires through lightning discharge and also produce strong and erratic local winds It might be a dry change i.e. precipitation is not expected The west to southwesterly wind change may turn the east flank of the fire into
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Time: 50 min Instructional Method Practice / Feedback Assessment Aids / Refs

Discuss how wind change and cold front have become interchangeable in Victorian vocabulary. Introduce the fact that wind changes or cold fronts can have a big impact on fire behaviour such as Ash Wednesday. This leads onto the next slide, S39.

S38

Discuss how a wind change might affect fire behaviour this leads into S40.

S39

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Learning and Assessment Strategy

Section 3 . Session 1 Meteorological Concepts Content Points the main fire front. This can cause a huge increase in the fire area. Effect of a wind change on fire behaviour How the flank of a fire can become the head after a wind change. Summary Review summary points identified on slides. Discuss the effect of a wind change making the flank of the fire the head, and how it can occur very quickly. Review the key points from the session and ensure understanding. Self check questions to be done in attendees own time. S40 Instructional Method Practice / Feedback Assessment

Time: 50 min Aids / Refs

S41 and S42

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Learning and Assessment Strategy

Section 2 Learning Strategy Session 2: Understanding Weather Charts Time: 30 min Aids S1 Time

Introduce Session:

This training session will introduce and describe weather charts and their application.

Inform learners of Session enabling objectives: Inform learners of Session outline: Stimulate recall of prior / prerequisite learning?:

Show S2 session learning outcomes. Discuss the learning outcomes detailed on the slide. Clarify participant understanding of aims / objectives as required. Show S3 outline and clarify as required. FW1 session 1.

S2

S3

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Learning and Assessment Strategy

Section 3 Session 2 Understanding Weather Charts Content Points The value of a weather chart Weather charts or weather maps or synoptic charts are very recognisable to people because of their use in the media. Charts show past, current and forecast weather information. A large amount of information can be gained from a weather chart from a quick glance. Typical features of a weather map The weather chart shows (concepts covered in session 1): High and low pressure centres Fronts Trough Ridges Discuss the chart on S5 broadly, indicating the different features. Ask attendees and discuss what weather might be expected in Victoria from the looking at the chart draw on info covered in session 1. Q8 S5 Instructional Method Give an introduction to weather charts although they were briefly mentioned in Session 1. Mention that synoptic scale is hundreds of kms i.e. the scale of most weather systems. Practice / Feedback Assessment S4 Time: 30 min Aids / Refs

Isobars
Discuss isobars making reference to the analogy with contours on a regular topographical map tighter isobars = stronger winds, like tighter contours = steeper terrain. Discuss how a high pressure ridge is identified on a weather chart. Q8 S6

Isobars Isobars indicate areas of constant pressure. Ridges and high pressure Ridges are elongated areas of higher pressure typically associated with a high pressure centre. Ridges are identified by a wavy line on
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Q8

S7

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Learning and Assessment Strategy

Section 3 Session 2 Understanding Weather Charts Content Points the long axis (or axes) of a high pressure centre. Troughs and low pressure Troughs are elongated regions of lower pressure and are marked on the weather map as a dashed line. These are less clearly defined than ridges. Fronts on a weather map Cold, warm, occluded and stationary fronts are all shown differently but are easily identifiable. Discuss toughs and how they more difficult to identify than ridges. Q8 S8 Instructional Method Practice / Feedback Assessment Time: 30 min Aids / Refs

Reiterate that cold fronts are more common in Victoria than the other 3 front types. Discuss what warm, cold, stationary and occluded fronts look like on a weather map. Flick to S10 for an example of each type.

Q8

S9

Examples of fronts on a weather map This slide shows an example of all front types. Typical summer weather patterns in Australia The mean path of summer high pressure centres due to global circulation.

Use S10 when discussing S9.

Q8

S10

Get attendees to recall the chart of mean global summer and winter sea level pressure. Australia is subject to subtropical high pressure ridge in summer this moves further south than during the winter. This leads onto S12.

S11

Summer weather pattern 1: Easterly dip A high pressure centre over the Bight directs maritime southeasterly winds over Victoria and New South Wales, whilst the low over
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Discuss easterly dip. This leads onto S13.

S12

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Learning and Assessment Strategy

Section 3 Session 2 Understanding Weather Charts Content Points Queensland reinforces the easterlies across the eastern half of the country. Victoria is likely to experience relatively moist conditions in the east of the state with thunderstorm activity but drier conditions in the west. Summer weather pattern 2: Summer heatwave The summer heatwave is a consequence of a ridge associated with a blocking high pressure system. Blocking refers to the fact that the high pressure centre remains stationary for a number of days restricting the normal west to east progression of weather systems. Fine and hot weather is generally experienced across the country under such a synoptic situation. Typical winter weather patterns in Australia The mean path of winter high pressure centres due to global circulation is shown in the slide. Get attendees to recall the chart of mean global summer and winter sea level pressure Australia is subject to subtropical high pressure ridge in winter this moves further north than during the summer. This leads onto S15. Winter weather pattern 1: Winter high A winter high occurs where a high pressure
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Time: 30 min Instructional Method Practice / Feedback Assessment Aids / Refs

Discuss the summer heatwave. This pattern is very typical of an extreme fire day with hot air over Victoria due to the northerly winds.

S13

S14

Mention that the high pressure centre is further north than in Summer due to the seasonal

S15
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Learning and Assessment Strategy

Section 3 Session 2 Understanding Weather Charts Content Points centre is seen over southeast Australia, with an associated ridge extending to the west. This stable situation gives cold and clear conditions across much of the country as the eastward progression of frontal activity is restricted. Fire weather and the synoptic map A day in which severe fire weather may occur can be predicted when specific synoptic patterns are known and identified on the forecast weather chart. Fire management personnel can obtain a significant amount of information from this single document alone. Analyse the chart, mentioning that: Severe fire danger days generally occur during the summer as temperatures are at their highest annually and precipitation is at its annual low. Many people refer to them as extreme days this is to do with the fire danger rating and is discussed in Weather and Fire Danger Indices (session 6). We know that hot and dry northerly winds from continental sources predominantly affect southeast Australia during the summer. This synoptic situation often occurs when a high pressure region is positioned over the Tasman Sea as in a summer heatwave (this is shown in the chart on S16). If winds are strong then a severe fire danger day may result. The situation can be exacerbated when a cold front or wind change is expected (this is shown in the chart on S16). Then,
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Time: 30 min Instructional Method Practice / Feedback Assessment Aids / Refs

position of the sub-tropical high pressure ridge in the southern hemisphere.

S16

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Learning and Assessment Strategy

Section 3 Session 2 Understanding Weather Charts Content Points Instructional Method the hot northerlies will increase in strength and become gustier as the cold front approaches. Finally, the wind direction will shift from the north to the southwest and the flank of a going fire can become the head increasing the size of the fire front dramatically. A three-dimensional atmosphere The atmosphere is three-dimensional it has depth. Upper level systems may bring wind, rain and other atmospheric conditions which are not apparent on the mean sea level pressure chart. An upper level map is the same as a sea level map but for a different pressure surface pressure indicates the height above sea level. Atmospheric thickness Thickness refers to the height of the atmospheric layer between 1000 hPa (roughly sea level) and 500 hPa in metre or decametres. If the layer is heated it expands and if the layer is cooled it contracts. [Atmospheric thickness cont. ] Thickness is therefore a measure of how warm
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Time: 30 min Practice / Feedback Assessment Aids / Refs

Discuss the 3-D nature of the atmosphere. Mention that we only experience what happens with weather at the ground surface, but in reality what we experience as weather is determined by what happens throughout the entire troposphere it is a fluid system.

S17

Discuss the notion of warm air expanding and cool are contracting. This leads onto S19. Use the diagram to illustrate the layer increasing or decreasing in height with temperature (with a fixed width).

S18

Discuss a greater thickness being warmer. This leads onto S20. Thickness is marked on a

S19
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Learning and Assessment Strategy

Section 3 Session 2 Understanding Weather Charts Content Points or cold an atmospheric layer is. This is related to surface temperature. Thickness on a weather map Thickness lines are dashed on a weather map and indicated in metres or decametres, in this case metres. Instructional Method synoptic map this leads onto S20. Discuss the chart in terms of warm and cold areas relate to learned knowledge about charts (e.g. summer heatwave). Mention that, roughly, warm conditions are above 5600m and colder conditions are below than 5600m. 5700m indicates surface temperatures of around 30C. The snow line is around 5400m i.e. snow might occur at this thickness if there is enough moisture present. Review the key points from the session and ensure understanding. Self check questions to be done in attendees own time. S20 Practice / Feedback Assessment Time: 30 min Aids / Refs

Summary Review summary points identified on slide.

S21

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Learning and Assessment Strategy

Section 2 Learning Strategy Session 3: Satellite and Radar Interpretation Time: 30 min Aids S1 Time

Introduce Session:

This training session will introduce the use of satellite and radar imagery in meteorology and discuss its interpretation. Show S2 session learning outcomes. Discuss the learning outcomes detailed on the slide. Clarify participant understanding of aims / objectives as required. Show S3 outline and clarify as required. FW1 sessions 1 2.

Inform learners of Session enabling objectives: Inform learners of Session outline: Stimulate recall of prior / prerequisite learning?:

S2

S3

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Learning and Assessment Strategy

Section 3 . Session 3 Satellite and Radar Interpretation Content Points Remote sensing in Meteorology This is the art of obtaining information without any physical contact. Remote sensing fills gaps between Automatic Weather Stations, provides data from upper atmosphere, and provides holistic data i.e. an image of a complete weather system. Passive (just take images) and active (send out energy to collect images) remote sensing techniques exist. Satellite imagery Infrared, visible and water vapour images are available as a single image or a continuous loop. Introduce the three types of satellite image and that it is often easier to see features using a loop rather than a static image. This leads onto S6. These satellite types are passive because they just take pictures whereas radar is active as it sends out radio waves which are reflected. Discuss infrared imagery in detail. This leads onto S7. Q9 and Q11 S5 Instructional Method Introduce the topic in more detail. Mention that remotely sensed data is very important in modern meteorology. Practice / Feedback Assessment S4 Time: 30 min Aids / Refs

Infrared satellite imagery Infrared images are taken in the infrared part of the electromagnetic spectrum. Colder areas appear brighter. Higher cloud is colder and therefore brighter than lower cloud. Low cloud is difficult to see because of the comparable temperatures between the cloud and the earths surface. Infrared images are available 24h a day. Colour aids interpretation.
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S6

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Learning and Assessment Strategy

Section 3 . Session Satellite and Radar Interpretation Content Points Examples of infrared satellite imagery An infrared image with and without a colour enhancement. Identify the features - a cold front is clearly visible over the Tasman Sea with a corresponding thickness trough (i.e. an area of cooler air in the atmosphere) behind it identified by the typical speckled cumulus cloud pattern. Visible satellite imagery Visible images are like a normal photograph in the visible light spectrum and are therefore unavailable at night. Land and water are dark grey to black whereas clouds are typically white or light grey. Greater reflection occurs for thicker clouds these appear as brighter on visible images but it can be difficult to discern between clouds at different altitudes. Example of a visible satellite image A visible image for the same period as the previous infrared image identify the features. Water vapour satellite imagery Water vapour satellite images indicate moisture in the upper atmosphere above 4km
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Time: 30 min Practice / Feedback Assessment Q9 and Q11 Aids / Refs S7

Instructional Method Discuss the two images indicating that it is easier to interpret the colour version. Bring in information from previous sessions discuss what we might be seeing on the images. Ask attendees where the coldest cloud is it is over Indonesian region (thunderstorms probably).

Discuss visible satellite imagery. This leads onto S9.

Q9

S8

Discuss the image in terms of front and thickness trough (speckled cloud in cool air).

Q9

S9

Discuss water vapour satellite imagery. This leads onto S11.

Q9

S10

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Learning and Assessment Strategy

Section 3 . Session Satellite and Radar Interpretation Content Points above sea level and provide information on upper level circulation that may not be apparent on other satellite images. Dry air is darker whilst more moist air is indicated by brighter and lighter colours. Example of water vapour satellite imagery This slide shows a visible satellite image for the same time period as the previous infrared and visible images identify the features. Other uses of satellite technology Satellite can detect other things e.g. dust or smoke plumes from a major fire. [Other uses of satellite technology cont. ] Radar imagery Radar works by sending out a pulse of electromagnetic energy (radio waves) into the atmosphere which is reflected back by raindrops and other debris. The location and intensity of precipitation is determined by the time taken for the scattered pulses or radar echoes to return to the radar receiver and the power with which they return: quicker and more intensely returned pulses indicate heavier precipitation.
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Time: 30 min Practice / Feedback Assessment Aids / Refs

Instructional Method

Discuss the image indicating where more moist areas are i.e. the cold front, and thunderstorms over the Indonesian region.

Q9

S11

Discuss what other features satellite can detect e.g. this image shows a smoke plume.

S12

Discuss the image showing a dust storm over eastern Australia. Discuss how radar works and radar imagery. This leads onto S15. Mention that radar is an active mechanism.

S13 Q10 S14

Learning and Assessment Strategy

Section 3 . Session Satellite and Radar Interpretation Content Points A horizontal map is produced with a key showing rainfall rates. Example of radar imagery This image shows a radar image for the Melbourne area together with a legend showing rainfall rates. Radar interpretation Interpretation is difficult: Radar beam widens and, due to curvature of earth, increases in altitude with increasing distance from the source it can miss precipitation at longer distances. Rain might be falling in the upper atmosphere which is detected on the radar, but not at ground level as it has evaporated. Reflectivity is dependent on size of raindrops, not amount, therefore it can miss drizzle A shadow effect can occur e.g. a thunderstorm cell close to the radar installation can shield the area of atmosphere in its wake It is possible to pick up insects or smoke from fires (because of particle size of ash)
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Time: 30 min Practice / Feedback Assessment Aids / Refs

Instructional Method

Discuss the image stating that it is available as a loop as well as a single image. Discuss with attendees where it might be wettest (over Port Phillip Bay and areas north of the city). Discuss radar interpretation. Mention the additional issues: Often a wind change can be seen by the insects and debris caught in the wind Radar is a short-term forecasting tool with a new image every 6 to 10 min Radar is like setting off a bomb and listening for a mosquito!

Q10

S15

Q10

S16

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Learning and Assessment Strategy

Section 3 . Session Satellite and Radar Interpretation Content Points Summary Review summary points identified on slide. Instructional Method Review the key points from the session and ensure understanding. Practice / Feedback Assessment Self check questions to be done in attendees own time. Time: 30 min Aids / Refs S17

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Learning and Assessment Strategy

Section 2
Learning Strategy Session 4: Weather Chart Activity Time: 40 min Aids Introduce Session: This session is an assessed activity that combines the work completed so far on meteorological concepts, weather maps and satellite images. It can be done individually or in small groups, however each person needs to complete Weather Chart Activity #1 and #2. Course convener to hand out copies of activities #1 and #2 to attendees. Activity #3 to be handed out as required. This component (Activities #1 and #2) constitutes part of the assessment for Fire Weather 1. Objective is to use the information covered in the first 3 sessions of the course. Time

Inform learners of Session enabling objectives: Inform learners of Session outline:

Stimulate recall of prior / prerequisite learning?:

There are three weather chart activities. The course convener will complete activity #1 on the whiteboard / computer, whilst attendees work through it at the same time. This will give attendees guidance on how to complete activity #2. Attendees will then complete activity #2. Activity #3 is for those attendees who manage to complete the second task quickly it is not compulsory. FW1 sessions 1 3.

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Learning and Assessment Strategy

Section 3. Session 4 Weather Chart Activity Content Points Weather Chart Activity #1 and answers Instructional Method Course convener to work through Activity #1 (put handout up on overhead) whilst attendees follow and annotate their sheets. Work through the answers after having gone through the questions (see answer handout). This will give attendees an idea of what they need to do for Activity #2. Weather Chart Activity #2 Course convener to put Activity #2 handout on the overhead. Attendees to work through Activity #2 individually or in small groups but all need to have a completed sheet for assessment. Course convener to walk around assisting where appropriate as attendees complete the other task (s). Weather Chart Activity #3 Attendees to complete Activity #3 if they have time this is an optional exercise. Course convener to go through the answers to Activity #2 on the screen. Attendees invited to ask questions etc. Course convener to mark each student as competent/not yet competent /recheck. Course convener to go through the answers to Activity #3 on the screen if required. Attendees invited to ask questions etc. Weather Chart Activity #3 handout Weather Chart Activity #2 answers handout Weather Chart Activity #2 handout Weather Chart Activity #2 handout Practice / Feedback Assessment Weather Chart Activity #1 handout Time: 40 min Aids / Refs Weather Chart Activity #1 handout & answers

Weather Chart Activity #2 answers

Weather Chart Activity #3 answers

Weather Chart Activity #3 answers handout

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Learning and Assessment Strategy

Section 2 Learning Strategy Session 5: Local Weather Effects Time: 30 min Aids S1 Time

Introduce Session:

This session will introduce several local weather effects that need to be considered in conjunction with the synoptic weather situation when analysing fire behaviour. Show S2 session learning outcomes. Discuss the learning outcomes detailed on the slide. Clarify participant understanding of aims / objectives as required. Show S3 outline and clarify as required. FW1 sessions 1 4.

Inform learners of Session enabling objectives: Inform learners of Session outline: Stimulate recall of prior / prerequisite learning?:

S2

S3

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Learning and Assessment Strategy

Section 3 . Session 5 Local Weather Effects Content Points Weather on a local scale Local weather effects are small-scale phenomena that impact a particular area in isolation. Local weather effects can dominate over synoptic effects in some circumstances. Local weather effects can make fire behaviour erratic and unpredictable. Sea breeze During the day, land heats up more quickly than water - the air above the land also heats up quicker than the air above the water. The air above the land warms, expands and rises. A low pressure zone forms above the land to which air flows from the relative high pressure zone over the water. Discuss the sea breeze with the following points: It can occur in all water / land environments including inland It can be restricted or enhanced by topography, and can enhance, reduce or reverse the prevailing wind flow in an area of low synoptic flow strength. Conversely, a strong synoptic flow can reduce the development of a sea breeze. Wildfire suppression and prescribed burning can be assisted by a favourable moist sea breeze however the same local weather effect can have the opposite impact if it is unexpected. Q13 S6 Q12 and Q13 S5 Instructional Method Introduce local weather effects. Ask attendees to give example of local weather effects e.g. the sea breeze. Mention that a number of local weather effects will be discussed and that they are difficult to predict. Practice / Feedback Assessment S4 Time: 30 min Aids / Refs

Land breeze During the night, land cools more quickly than water - the air above the land also cools
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Discuss the land breeze it is the opposite of a sea breeze. Discuss the effect on synoptic flow and effect of

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Learning and Assessment Strategy

Section 3 . Session 5 Local Weather Effects Content Points quicker than the air above the water. The air above the land cools, contracts and sinks. A high pressure zone forms above the land from which air flows to the relative low pressure zone over the water. Mountain and valley winds Mountain and valley winds are caused by three processes: wind flow around and between obstacles, wind flow over obstacles, and surface heating and cooling. Understanding mountain and valley winds is important in the management of wildfire situations in upland terrain because wind flow is very sensitive to topography, and local weather effects that arise can have a significant impact on wildfires. Wind turbulence can encourage erratic and unpredictable fire behaviour, and fire intensity and direction of spread can change quickly. Wind flow around and between obstacles Air will attempt to flow around isolated obstacles rather than over them this is especially the case in stable atmospheric conditions as the air is unable to rise. Under such conditions the wind is strongest and most turbulent on the lower mountain sides and is also funnelled through gaps in the
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Time: 30 min Instructional Method Practice / Feedback Assessment Aids / Refs

synoptic flow on land breeze as discussed above for sea breeze. Mention that the land breeze is weaker than the sea breeze. Introduce the topic there is a lot of overlap between many of the local effects in this section different local effects can occur simultaneously. S7

Introduce wind flow around and between obstacles leading onto S9. Wind speeds are increased on the lower slopes and during funnelling due to the Bernoulli Effect fluid forced through a smaller gap increases in speed.

Q13

S8

Learning and Assessment Strategy

Section 3 . Session 5 Local Weather Effects Content Points ranges. Eddy formation If the terrain or obstacle is rough, airflow downwind near ground level can become more turbulent and a wake may be created where airflow is generally lighter but gustier in nature. An eddy can form in the lee side of the hill, opposite to the general wind direction. Wind channelling Wind can become directionally channelled by ridges and valleys under both light and strong wind conditions. Wind speed increases due to funnelling. Gaps in ranges and main valleys are good examples of this local meteorological effect. Wind flow over obstacles The atmosphere does not like vertical movement. If air is unable to flow around an obstacle (for example a mountain chain) or the atmosphere is unstable it will be forced to rise and cross the obstacle in its path. This is especially the case if strong winds perpendicular to the obstacle are evident. Top acceleration and mountain waves can occur when airflow passes over a region of
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Time: 30 min Instructional Method Practice / Feedback Assessment Aids / Refs

Discuss eddy formation and how it might impact a going wildfire.

S9

Discuss wind channelling (Bernoulli Effect) and how it might impact a going wildfire.

Q13

S10

Discuss wind flow over and between obstacles including the difficulty of knowing whether flow will remain laminar or not. This leads onto slide S12.

S11

Learning and Assessment Strategy

Section 3 . Session 5 Local Weather Effects Content Points steep topography. When airflow encounters a large obstacle in its path (such as a mountain): (1) The flow can remain as a single airflow (laminar flow) as it passes over the obstacle, or (2) The flow can become turbulent. Discuss top acceleration the air is squeezed between the obstacle, e.g. mountain, and the more stable layer at some height this increases the speed as the same amount of fluid must go through a smaller gap. This is like water squirting out of a tap when you partially cover it up Bernoulli Effect. Discuss mountain waves and rotors this is a large scale local effect. A big danger is of wind being brought down in a rotor which can have a dramatic effect on fire behaviour as it is from an unexpected direction. Discuss separate flow systems in mountainous terrain. Discuss examples of where this might occur. S12 Instructional Method Practice / Feedback Assessment Time: 30 min Aids / Refs

Top acceleration If the flow remains laminar, and there is a stable layer of air above the height of the obstacle, the wind speed increases as the top of the obstacle is approached this is top acceleration. Mountain waves If the airflow becomes turbulent, eddies and mountain waves can form. Mountain waves typically occur when the wind forced over a mountain increases in speed with height in a mildly unstable atmosphere. In such cases, the air is forced up and the disturbance on the lee side forms a series of wavelike troughs and peaks that are sometimes recognisable by the appearance of lenticular clouds at the wave crests. Rotors generally occur as a result of mountain waves and are a closed parcel of air rotating
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S13 and S14

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Learning and Assessment Strategy

Section 3 . Session 5 Local Weather Effects Content Points along an axis parallel to the mountain range but somewhat downwind. In complex terrain, a decoupling between the air within and above the valley rim can occur two separate flow systems can become evident. Up-slope and down-slope winds A number of up-slope and down-slope local weather effects can occur in regions with mountainous or undulating terrain due to heating or cooling of the air. These include: Foehn Katabatic Anabatic Introduce up-slope and down-slope winds this leads onto S16. S15 Instructional Method Practice / Feedback Assessment Time: 30 min Aids / Refs

Under these conditions erratic and unpredictable fire behaviour is likely, especially for up-slope winds where preheating effects to fuel upstream can increase fire intensity and rate of spread. Up- / down-slope winds Foehn winds As a moist air parcel moves upslope over a barrier it cools and contracts, and water vapour condenses which adds latent heat to the environment. As the wind moves down the lee slope it is
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Discuss the Foehn effect mention that Foehn winds occur in Gippsland as winds come down off the Great Dividing Range.

S16

Learning and Assessment Strategy

Section 3 . Session 5 Local Weather Effects Content Points warmer and drier. Up- / down-slope winds Katabatic winds The earth cools at night as it emits longwave radiation. The layer of air directly above the ground also cools and is then cooler than a layer of air at higher altitudes or a layer at the same altitude but away from the slope or valley side. This cooler and denser slab of air moves down-slope under the influence of gravity forming a katabatic wind. Emphasise that katabatic winds are less likely to occur with strong synoptic winds as local effects are generally suppressed by the stronger prevailing winds and mixing. Discuss when katabatic winds are strongest: when the sky is clear, when synoptic winds are light, where slopes are long and steep, and in areas where vegetation is sparse (including burnt ground). Discuss examples of where this might occur. This leads onto S18. Up- / down-slope winds Anabatic winds During the day incoming solar radiation warms the earths surface, and the layer of air directly above the ground warms to a greater degree than a layer of air at higher altitudes or a layer at a similar altitude but further from the slope. This warmer and less dense air rises, and the rising air creates a void that tends to draw in air from lower down the slope. Discuss anabatic winds in relation to katabatic winds an anabatic wind is the daytime equivalent of a katabatic flow. Emphasise that anabatic winds are typically stronger than katabatic flows and that anabatic winds are less likely to occur with strong synoptic winds as local effects are generally suppressed by the stronger prevailing winds. Discuss when anabatic winds are strongest: when the sky is clear, when synoptic winds are light, where slopes are long and steep, and in areas where vegetation is sparse (including burnt ground). Discuss aspect: northerly and westerly facing aspects tend to have later and stronger anabatic
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Time: 30 min Instructional Method Practice / Feedback Assessment Q13 and Q14 S17 Aids / Refs

Q13 and Q14

S18

Learning and Assessment Strategy

Section 3 . Session 5 Local Weather Effects Content Points Instructional Method flows than southerly and easterly facing aspects due to differences in the timing and amount of solar radiation received. Discuss examples of where this might occur. Anabatic / katabatic wind systems In complex terrain, a decoupling between the air within and above the valley rim can occur; that is, two separate flow systems become evident. In some instances up-valley anabatic winds can dominate during the day and down-valley katabatic winds can dominate during the evening despite a strong synoptic flow above. The influence of cloud on local weather effects Many local weather effects result from solar insolation and the presence of cloud can reduce incoming sunlight. Increased daytime cloud density will reduce the intensity of incoming solar radiation and impede the development of local weather effects driven by heating such as the sea breeze or anabatic wind. Similarly, increased nocturnal cloud levels will reduce the potential for katabatic and land breeze effects to occur as the earths surface
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Time: 30 min Practice / Feedback Assessment Aids / Refs

Discuss anabatic and katabatic wind systems.

S19

Discuss how cloud can influence solar heating of the earths surface making reference to how much cloud cover varies ask attendees to look the next time they are outside this has a huge influence on surface heating on a local scale. As a result it is very difficult to predict what local effects might occur.

S20

Learning and Assessment Strategy

Section 3 . Session 5 Local Weather Effects Content Points will cool at a lower rate. Thunderstorm outflow Thunderstorms are caused if moist air that is forced to rise to great heights in an unstable atmosphere by convection condenses and continues to rise forming towering columns of cumulonimbus clouds, associated with strong up and down drafts. Cool dense air that sinks out of a thunderstorm (a down draft) diverges rapidly when it hits the ground surface, and these strong, gusty and erratic winds are termed thunderstorm outflow Exercise I What local effects might occur at the four locations shown on the slide? Discuss with attendees the following: Morwell includes: channelling due to Latrobe valley, katabatic / anabatic winds, and decoupled mountain valley systems. Yarram includes: sea and land breeze. McCallister River Valley includes: anabatic / katabatic winds, channelling, decoupled mountain valley systems. Mt Baw Baw includes: anabatic / katabatic winds, top acceleration, eddies, mountain waves and rotors, side acceleration.
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Time: 30 min Instructional Method Practice / Feedback Assessment Aids / Refs

Discuss thunderstorm outflow this can cause a rapid increase in wind speed and a change in wind direction. Discuss the possibility of other local effects resulting from thunderstorm outflow e.g. channelling and eddy flow etc.

Q13

S21

S22

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Learning and Assessment Strategy

Section 3 . Session 5 Local Weather Effects Content Points Exercise II A topographical map can also be used to identify what local weather effects might occur. Fire induced effects A fire itself can impact on the local weather if it is of sufficient size due to the large amount of heat caused by combustion rising from the burnt ground. The hot rising plume of smoke can act as an obstacle to the synoptic wind flow causing erratic or unexpected behaviour in its wake and increasing wind speed at its flanks and top as discussed earlier in this chapter. Fires can generate thunderstorms and lightning on some occasions lightning activity can cause new starts downwind, making suppression even more difficult. Synoptic weather influences weak pressure gradients The synoptic weather pattern can influence what local weather effects are experienced because if the gradient wind is light any local effects will be those that do not arise from stronger synoptic conditions. This chart shows a weak pressure gradient with clear skies and it allows sea / land breeze
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Time: 30 min Instructional Method Practice / Feedback Assessment Aids / Refs S23

Mention that all effects except sea / land breeze would occur in the Grampians.

Discuss how fires can influence the local environment.

S24

Introduce the idea of synoptic and local effects occurring together and how they may affect each other. Discuss how these effects (sea / land breeze and anabatic / katabatic winds) can be enhanced or reduced by light synoptic flows depending on flow direction, or themselves can reduce synoptic flows if the prevailing wind is very light.

Q14

S25

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Learning and Assessment Strategy

Section 3 . Session 5 Local Weather Effects Content Points (in coastal regions) and anabatic / katabatic winds to form. These effects are typically weaker than strong synoptic flows so they only really occur under weak synoptic conditions. Synoptic weather influences strong pressure gradients This chart shows a strong pressure gradient and it encourage eddies, top acceleration, and mountain waves and rotors to form. However, a sea breeze can form in Gippsland as it is protected from the stronger NWly winds by the Dividing Range the stronger winds are forced upwards. Summary Review summary points identified on slide. Instructional Method Mention that eddies and mountain waves etc are less likely in lighter prevailing conditions and that channelling / funnelling can occur under both strong and weak pressure gradients. This leads onto S26. Discuss how local weather effects can be enhanced or reduced by synoptic flows stronger winds generally impede local effects such as anabatic / katabatic and sea / land breeze etc but it does encourage eddies, top acceleration etc. Mention that channelling / funnelling can occur under both strong and weak pressure gradients. Emphasise that things are never as they seem regarding local weather effects! Review the key points from the session and ensure understanding. Self check questions to be done in attendees own time. S27 Q14 S26 Practice / Feedback Assessment Time: 30 min Aids / Refs

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Learning and Assessment Strategy

Section 2 Learning Strategy Session 6: Weather and Fire Danger Indices Time: 20 min Aids S1 Time

Introduce Session:

This session will discuss how to interpret the Fire Danger Rating system used in Bureau of Meteorology fire weather forecasts. Show S2 session learning outcomes. Discuss the learning outcomes detailed on the slide. Clarify participant understanding of aims / objectives as required. Show S3 outline and clarify as required. FW1 sessions 1 5.

Inform learners of Session enabling objectives: Inform learners of Session outline: Stimulate recall of prior / prerequisite learning?:

S2

S3

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Learning and Assessment Strategy

Section 3 . Session 6 Weather and Fire Danger Indices Content Points What is fire danger? Fire danger is the difficulty of controlling or suppressing a wildfire and is a function of fuel state and weather. Fire danger is quantified using a numerical Fire Danger Index (FDI) to which a descriptive Fire Danger Rating (FDR) is attached, where higher values represent a higher level of danger. FDIs are calculated in 2 circumstances: As part of routine fire weather forecasting To predict the behaviour of a going wildfire Discuss the Fire Danger Index and why a separate index is used for forests and grassland they are very different environments and so one value cannot refer to both. The fuel state input varies for forests and grassland. Discuss the inputs into the FFDI. This leads onto S7. Q15 S5 Instructional Method Discuss with the attendees how they would define fire danger. Introduce fire danger and how it is used in CFA / DSE e.g. Total Fire ban Days / fire ground planning. Practice / Feedback Assessment S4 Time: 20 min Aids / Refs

Fire Danger Index Fire danger is calculated as a function of fuel state, temperature, humidity and wind speed for forests and grassland. McArthur Forest Fire Danger Index FFDI formula combines the following inputs: Drought Factor (a measure of forest fuel availability) Temperature Relative humidity

Q15

S6

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Learning and Assessment Strategy

Section 3 . Session 6 Weather and Fire Danger Indices Content Points Average wind speed (at 10m) Discuss Drought Factor in summer and winter conditions e.g. in summer it might be very dry for a long period giving a DF of 10. This leads onto S8. S7 Instructional Method Practice / Feedback Assessment Drought factor Drought Factor (DF) combines recent precipitation levels with a Drought Index (DI) to estimate how much fuel is available to burn. DI is a measure of long-term dryness and is calculated by considering temperature and rainfall. In Victoria, the DI used is the KeetchByram Drought Index. DF estimates the proportion (in tenths) of the fine fuels (<6mm diameter) in a forest that will burn in a fire where: DF = 0 implies that all fuels are wet (i.e. fires will not burn) DF = 5 implies that half the fine fuel will burn DF = 10 represents a situation where all fuels are dry and ready to burn Discuss the FFDI / FFDR system and how it is used in two ways: (1) In broad-scale statewide fire danger prediction FFDI is part of the standard forecast suite of fire weather parameters provided to fire management agencies by the Bureau of Meteorology, and a predicted value of extreme triggers a closer examination of the expected
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Time: 20 min Aids / Refs

Forest fire danger system The forest fire danger system (comprising a descriptive FDR and a numerical FFDI): FDR: Low FDR: Moderate FDR: High FFDI of 0 4 FFDI of 5 11 FFDI of 12 23

S8

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Learning and Assessment Strategy

Section 3 . Session 6 Weather and Fire Danger Indices Content Points FDR: Very high FDR: Extreme FFDI of 24 49 FFDI of 50 + Instructional Method weather conditions. A Total Fire Ban or other preparedness strategy may come into effect as a result of a predicted extreme FFDI. (2) More locally to predict the behaviour of a going fire or prescribed burn calculating the FFDI permits reference tables to be used to predict the forward rate of spread, flame height and likely spotting distance. This leads onto S9. How variables impact FFDI Increase in Drought Factor = increase in FFDI Increase in temperature = increase in FFDI Decrease in relative humidity = increase in FFDI Increase in wind speed = increase in FFDI Discuss the diurnal variation of FFDI making reference to: Low temperatures in the morning with associated high relative humidity FFDIs will also be low. As the land heats up during the day, the temperature will rise and relative
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Time: 20 min Practice / Feedback Assessment Aids / Refs

The value for FFDI is capped at 100, however higher values are possible on rare occasions. Fires with an FFDI above 50 typically become weather dominated.

Discuss how changes in variables impact the FFDI. This leads onto S10 diurnal variation in weather parameters. Refer attendees to diagram of FFDI calculator in Learning Manual.

S9

Diurnal variation of FFDI The meteogram (line graph showing the variation in weather parameters for a fixed location over time) for Latrobe Valley over 3 days shows the diurnal variation of FFDI alongside wind speed, humidity and temperature, with a drought factor of 10.
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S10

Learning and Assessment Strategy

Section 3 . Session 6 Weather and Fire Danger Indices Content Points Instructional Method humidity will drop - increasing FFDIs. Wind speed will also typically increase during the day as a product of the differential heating of the earths surface and the erosion of any low level inversion - increase FFDI. FFDI reduces during nocturnal hours through the reverse of the same mechanisms. Practice / Feedback Assessment Time: 20 min Aids / Refs

This leads onto S11. FFDI assumptions Terrain aspect or slope is not taken into account by the FFDI model. An available fuel amount of 12.5 tonnes per hectare is assumed in the FFDI calculation (indicated on the back of the meter) and fuel loads can be heavier than this. The FFDI model assumes moderate instability. Fire behaviour in elevated fuels may be underestimated, and extreme days will often be more unstable than the model assumes. The FFDI model assumes a uniform canopy interception of sunlight. The FFDI model assumes full sunlight.
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Discuss FFDI limitations.

S11

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Learning and Assessment Strategy

Section 3 . Session 6 Weather and Fire Danger Indices Content Points McArthur Grassland Fire Danger Index GFDI formula combines the following inputs: Curing (a measure of forest fuel availability) Temperature Relative humidity Average wind speed (at 10m height) Discuss Curing it is analogous to Drought Factor. The less moisture in a plant (the more dead it is) the easier it will burn. This leads onto S14. S13 Instructional Method Discuss GFDI inputs making comparisons with FFDI. This leads onto S13. Practice / Feedback Assessment Q15 Time: 20 min Aids / Refs S12

Curing Most grasses have a natural life cycle in which plants mature annually, and die or become dormant. The moisture content of the grass is lost seasonally in the drying or curing process. Values for curing are expressed as the percentage of dry (dead) grass and range from 0% cured (completely green) to 100% cured (completely dead). Grassland fire danger system The grassland fire danger system (comprising a descriptive FDR and a numerical GFDI): FDR: Low FDR: Moderate FDR: High FDR: Very high GFDI of 0 2 GFDI of 3 7 GFDI of 8 19 GFDI of 20 49

Discuss GFDI and how it is similar to FFDI, but that it does not have identical numerical bounds at values below extreme. Mention that as with FFDI, GFDI is used for broad-scale warning and also more locally for a going fire or prescribed burn. On a broad-scale, Total Fire Bans may occur as a consequence of predicted GFDIs over 50. This leads onto S15.

S14

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Learning and Assessment Strategy

Section 3 . Session 6 Weather and Fire Danger Indices Content Points FDR: Extreme GFDI of 50 + Instructional Method Practice / Feedback Assessment Values can reach over 100 on rare occasions, particularly if wind speed and curing is high. Fires with a GFDI above 50 typically become weather dominated. How variables impact GFDI Increase in Curing = increase in GFDI Increase in temperature = increase in GFDI Decrease in relative humidity = increase in GFDI Increase in wind speed = increase in GFDI Discuss the diurnal variation in GFDI making reference to: Low temperatures in the morning with associated high relative humidity GFDIs will also be low. As the land heats up during the day, the temperature will rise and relative humidity will drop - increasing GFDIs. Wind speed will also typically increase during the day as a product of the differential heating of the earths surface and the erosion of any low level inversion
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Time: 20 min Aids / Refs

Discuss how variables can impact GFDI Changes in the parameters are identical to how they affect FFDI. Refer attendees to diagram of GFDI calculator in Learning Manual. This leads onto diurnal variation, S16.

S15

Diurnal variation of GFDI This meteogram (line graph showing variation in weather parameters for a fixed location over time) for Horsham over 2 days shows diurnal variation of GFDI alongside wind speed, humidity and temperature with a curing of 10.

S16

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Learning and Assessment Strategy

Section 3 . Session 6 Weather and Fire Danger Indices Content Points Instructional Method - increase GFDI. GFDI reduces during nocturnal hours through the same mechanisms. Practice / Feedback Assessment Time: 20 min Aids / Refs

This leads onto slide S17. GFDI assumptions Aspect or slope is not taken into account Atmospheric instability is not taken into account Discuss GFDI limitations these are similar limitations to FFDI. Emphasise that GFDI is very sensitive to wind speed and curing. Mention that GFDI is very sensitive to curing and wind speed i.e. a small increase in curing level or wind speed will give a large increase in GFDI. Discuss the notion of an extreme fire danger day combining charts and FDI values. For their maximum benefit, observed and predicted FDI values must be examined alongside other meteorological data including synoptic charts, remotely sensed data, and computer model output. Q16 S18 S17

Extreme FDI conditions In Chapter 2 we discussed the synoptic conditions that might give rise to a severe fire danger day in Victoria by analysing the weather chart. In many instances, days where fire danger is severe will experience FFDI or GFDI values of 50 or more i.e. fire danger will reach extreme on the McArthur scale.

If the synoptic chart implies a day of severe or extreme fire danger, then this will often be confirmed upon examination of the FDI values.
Forecast FDIs are a factor in the declaration of a Total Fire Ban by the CFA Chief Officer in consultation with the Bureau and DSE.
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Learning and Assessment Strategy

Section 3 . Session 6 Weather and Fire Danger Indices Content Points Instructional Method Practice / Feedback Assessment Weather associated with an extreme FDI day Extreme FDIs are associated with a number of synoptic situations including: A dry low pressure system directing strong and gusty north, west or northwesterly winds across the state A high pressure system directing hot and dry northerly winds over the state A vigorous cold front approaching a strong high pressure region directing hot and dry northerly winds across the state before a gusty southwesterly wind change. Discuss weather associated with extreme FDIs. For the three examples given, mention that: If winds are high and the system is dry then it might not need a high temperature for extremes to occur. If its very hot and dry then it might not need much wind for extremes. The final example is the classic fie weather situation for Victoria. Q16 S19 Time: 20 min Aids / Refs

Emphasise that in many places, extreme conditions are a nice summers day e.g. Mallee where low 50s in the GFDI are regularly reached a Total Fire Ban is not declared every time extremes are predicted it depends on many factors, not just numbers. Review the key points from the session and ensure understanding. Self check questions to be done in attendees own time. S20

Summary Review summary points identified on slide.

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Learning and Assessment Strategy

Section 2 Learning Strategy Session 7: Bureau of Meteorology Products & Services Time: 30 min Aids S1 Time

Introduce Session:

Inform learners of Session enabling objectives: Inform learners of Session outline: Stimulate recall of prior / prerequisite learning?:

This session will discuss how to access and interpret Bureau of Meteorology fire weather products & services. This session would be ideally completed with internet access to allow attendees to have a play as they go along. Show S2 session learning outcomes. Discuss the learning outcomes detailed on the slide. Clarify participant understanding of aims / objectives as required. Show S3 outline and clarify as required. FW1 sessions 1 6.

S2

S3

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Learning and Assessment Strategy

Section 3 . Session 7 Bureau of Meteorology Products & Services Content Points Weather on the web BoM public website is found on the web at www.bom.gov.au. Specialist fire weather products are found in the Registered Users section this is not available to the general public it requires a password. Click on Registered User Services to access the Registered User webpage. Login to the Registered Users webpage Access the Registered Users webpage by clicking on the login icon and you will be presented with a username / password box. Enter username and password Four different usernames exist to allow the Bureau to monitor website traffic this allows you to enter the Registered User section of the Bureau website. Discuss how to enter the Registered User webpage. As course convener write on the whiteboard / screen the username / password to be used for that session. Inform attendees how to obtain a real username / password for use in operations from the Bureau of Meteorology liaison person in their organisation. CFA staff would use the CFA HQ and Regions username of bomw0025, and the password of cfahq2. Discuss Registered User webpage. Mention that there is a huge amount of weather and climate information contained within the website but that S7 S6 This leads onto S6. Q17 S5 Instructional Method Discuss the role of BoM in providing specialist fire weather advice to fire management agencies including CFA and DSE. This leads onto S5. Practice / Feedback Assessment Q17 Time: 30 min Aids / Refs S4

Registered User webpage The Registered User webpage contains a large


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Learning and Assessment Strategy

Section 3 . Session 7 Bureau of Meteorology Products & Services Content Points amount of data under the following headings: Synoptic Charts Forecasts and Warnings Observations Satellite Imagery Radar Imagery Computer Model Diagnostics Climate Information Instructional Method fire management agencies are mostly concerned with Forecasts and Warnings. Practice / Feedback Assessment Time: 30 min Aids / Refs

Other weather links and a teleconference briefing sequence are also provided. Forecasts and Warnings is typically the section to which fire management personnel will primarily direct their attention. This section includes fire weather products specifically prepared by the Bureau for fire management agencies which are not freely available to outside sources. Fire weather products The Bureau produces a number of fire weather products for fire management agencies. The standard fire weather products are: Fire Weather Estimates and Extended Fire Weather Estimates Discuss the standard fire weather products issued by the Bureau, explaining that each topic will be covered in more detail later in the session. This leads onto S9. S8

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Learning and Assessment Strategy

Section 3 . Session 7 Bureau of Meteorology Products & Services Content Points Fire Weather Briefing Fire Weather Outlook Spot Fire / Prescribed Burn Forecasts Wind Change Forecast Chart Thunderstorm Forecast Discuss Fire Weather Estimates referring attendees to the Learning Manual for an example. A set of Fire Weather Estimates will be available on the webpage during the fire season to show the class. Discuss the nine weather districts and 25 locations that represent the state. This leads onto S10. [Fire weather estimates cont.] For each of the 25 locations around Victoria (at maximum temperature time): Maximum temperature (C) Relative humidity (%) Wind direction Wind speed and gust (km/h) FFDI (using a calculated Drought Discuss Fire Weather Estimates for each location referring attendees to the Learning Manual for an example. A set of Fire Weather Estimates will be available on the webpage during the fire season to show the class. Emphasise that these parameters are predicted for maximum temperature time for each of the 25 locations. Discuss each variable briefly. Emphasise that
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Time: 30 min Practice / Feedback Assessment Aids / Refs

Instructional Method

Fire weather estimates Fire Weather Estimates are issued twice daily during the fire season at 0630h for the current day and 1645h for the following day. Fire Weather Estimates are Issued for 25 representative locations around Victoria in nine weather districts.

Q19

S9

Q19

S10

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Learning and Assessment Strategy

Section 3 . Session 7 Bureau of Meteorology Products & Services Content Points Factor) GFDI (using an observed Curing value) Wind change time and wind strength (if appropriate) Instructional Method variables might be different before or after maximum temperature time (e.g. wind speeds could be great in the morning but then they drop by maximum temperature time, this is bad for fires in the morning). This leads onto S11. [Fire weather estimates cont.] For each of the nine forecast districts the following additional information is provided: Lightning Activity Level (LAL; 0 = nil, 1 = one or two, 2 = a few, 3 = numerous strikes over a district) Rain (No = less than 5mm, Yes = greater than 5mm over an entire district during the 24 hour period from 0900h on the forecast day) Height of the mixing depth above sea level (mix, metres) Upper level wind direction and strength (at 1000 to 2000 metres above MSL; km/hr) FDI above 35 (approximate time when FDI is above 35, for * locations if occurring 4 hours or more before or after maximum temperature time) Discuss Fire Weather Estimates for each district. The information on this slide is provided for the nine districts rather than for each individual location. This is more broad-scale information. Mention that FDI above 35 gives an indication of when the fire danger is expected to reach the critical level of 35. This is only filled when the fire danger is expected to rise above 35 at least four hours before or after the time of maximum temperature. It is denoted by * in the wind change column and a description of the time is given. Mention that the height of the mixing depth gives an indication of stability in that greater height = less stability, and that upper level winds are a good indication of potential gusting at the surface. A set of Fire Weather Estimates will be available on the webpage during the fire season to show the class. Refer attendees to the Learning Manual again to
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Time: 30 min Practice / Feedback Assessment Aids / Refs

Q19

S11

Learning and Assessment Strategy

Section 3 . Session 7 Bureau of Meteorology Products & Services Content Points Instructional Method see a copy of the estimates. This leads onto S12. [Fire weather estimates cont.] Summary comments and an example of fire weather estimates for the Mallee district. Discuss Fire Weather Estimates. Refer attendees to the Learning Manual for an example. A set of Fire Weather Estimates will be available on the webpage during the fire season to show the class. Mention Preliminary Fire Weather Estimates issued at 1130h if the next day is expected to be bad (FDIs above 35 in three or more districts), or as a matter of course on a Friday or the day before a public holiday. Extended fire weather estimates At 1715h each day during the fire season a set of Extended Fire Weather Estimates (with a reduced number of locations and meteorological parameters) is issued for an additional three days beyond the next-day forecast. Discuss Extended Fire Weather Estimates - less information is provided because forecasts become less accurate with increasing time from the date of issue. A set of Extended Fire Weather Estimates will be available on the webpage during the fire season to show the class. Refer attendees to the Learning Manual for an example of a set of Extended Fire Weather Estimates. Fire Weather Briefing At 1045hrs each day during the fire season a
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Time: 30 min Practice / Feedback Assessment Aids / Refs

Q19

S12

Q19

S13

Discuss the Fire Weather Briefing. A Fire Weather Briefing will be available on the webpage during the fire season to show the

Q19

S14

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Learning and Assessment Strategy

Section 3 . Session 7 Bureau of Meteorology Products & Services Content Points written Fire Weather Briefing is issued. The Fire Weather Briefing: Outlines any variations to the estimates issued earlier that day at 0630h Provides more detail about the days weather Gives a summary of the expected weather over the next few days Discuss the Fire Weather Outlook this is a great tool because it gives synoptic charts as well as comments. Refer the attendees to the Learning Manual to see an example Fire Weather Outlook. A Fire Weather Outlook will be available on the webpage during the fire season to show the class. Discuss Spot Fire / Prescribed Burn Forecasts. Emphasise that Spot Fire / Prescribed Burn Forecasts are available all year round not just during the fire season. Refer attendees to the Learning Manual to see an example of a Spot Fire / Prescribed Burn Forecast. Q18 S16 Q19 S15 class. Refer the attendees to the Learning manual for an example Fire Weather Briefing. Instructional Method Practice / Feedback Assessment Time: 30 min Aids / Refs

Fire Weather Outlook At 1650h each day during the fire season the Fire Weather Outlook is issued which provides synoptic charts and comments regarding the expected weather conditions for the following four days.

Spot Fire / Prescribed Burn Forecast A Spot Fire / Prescribed Burn Forecast for the local weather conditions associated with a fire or prescribed burn can be requested at any time during the year. Spot Fire / Prescribed Burn Forecasts cover a short-term forecast period and contain predictions for temperature, relative humidity and wind speed at ground and upper levels in
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Learning and Assessment Strategy

Section 3 . Session 7 Bureau of Meteorology Products & Services Content Points three-hourly time steps for a nine-hour period and an outlook for the following twelve hours. Spot Fire / Prescribed Burn Forecasts also contain a written meteorological description. Spot Fire / Prescribed Burn Forecasts have the highest priority behind Wind Change forecast charts. Thunderstorm Forecast A Thunderstorm Forecast chart is issued for the state of Victoria by 1130h each day showing watch areas where thunderstorms are possible. The Thunderstorm Forecast chart is updated when applicable. Discuss the Thunderstorm Forecast. Emphasise that Thunderstorm Forecasts are available all year round not just during the fire season. Mention that in some cases thunderstorm activity can lead to flash flooding, and if this is the case it will also be indicated. Refer attendees to Learning Manual to see an example Thunderstorm Forecast. A Thunderstorm Forecast will be available on the webpage. Wind Change Forecast Chart A Wind Change Forecast Chart is issued on days where a significant wind change is expected to cross the state and the fire danger is expected to be very high or extreme. This plots the current position of the wind change and the predicted position in threehour increments, and indicates the wind speed and direction before and behind the change.
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Time: 30 min Practice / Feedback Assessment Aids / Refs

Instructional Method

S17

Discuss the Wind Change Forecast Chart. Emphasise how important wind changes are to fire management agencies and that this product has the highest priority of all the fire weather products issued by the Bureau. Reiterate how wind changes can affect fire behaviour. Refer attendees to Learning Manual to see an example Wind Change Forecast Chart.

S18

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Learning and Assessment Strategy

Section 3 . Session 7 Bureau of Meteorology Products & Services Content Points The chart is updated every three hours until the change either moves out of the state or has weakened to such an extent that it is no longer considered to be a threat. Additional website information The Registered User webpage also contains supplementary weather information: Synoptic Charts Observations Satellite Imagery Radar Imagery Computer Model Diagnostics (model data and predicted meteograms for selected sites across Victoria) Climate Information Links Discuss the additional information available on the Registered Users webpage referring attendees to the Learning Manual for further details. Click through the website whilst showing S19 and highlight a few things of interest. Talk about the amount of information available but that you only really need the specific fire weather products. Mention that DSE have access through Fireweb to lightning tracker data that plots where cloudto-ground lightning strikes have occurred. Attendees may have used meteogram data from the Bureau Silo site this data comes from one model (GASP) and is therefore not as accurate as the Computer Model Diagnostics data. Review the key points from the session and ensure understanding. Self check questions to be done in attendees own time. S20 S19 Instructional Method Practice / Feedback Assessment Time: 30 min Aids / Refs

Summary Review summary points identified on slide.

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Learning and Assessment Strategy

Section 2 Session 8: Weather observations on the Fire Ground (including Weather Observation Learning Strategy Activity) Aids S1 Time Time: 30 min

Introduce Session:

This session will introduce the importance of being aware of local weather conditions as well as providing guidance as to how to obtain a simple weather observation. Show S2 session learning outcomes. Discuss the learning outcomes detailed on the slide. Clarify participant understanding of aims / objectives as required. Show S3 outline and clarify as required. The Weather Observation Activity in this session forms part of the assessment of FW1. FW1 sessions 1 7.

Inform learners of Session enabling objectives: Inform learners of Session outline: Stimulate recall of prior / prerequisite learning?:

S2

S3

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Learning and Assessment Strategy

Section 3 . Session 8 Weather observations on the Fire Ground (including Weather Observation Activity) Content Points Being aware of the weather Weather has a major impact on fire behaviour, and fire ground safety can be dependent on interpreting visual weather clues. A lack of awareness of the weather can have a serious and detrimental effect on fire management and suppression activities, and can jeopardise firefighter safety. Taking a weather observation Local weather observations need to be taken of the general environmental conditions unaffected by a fire otherwise the data recorded may not be representative of the surrounding area. Weather observations must be taken to a set standard in order for them to be referenced and compared to past and future observations. [Taking a weather observation cont.] When taking a weather observation on a fire ground, the following criteria should be considered: Take the observation away from the fire line Take the observation upwind of the fire and smoke plume in an unburnt area
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Time: 30 min Aids / Refs S4

Instructional Method Discuss the importance of weather and weather observations. Talk about how we are all aware of the weather often subconsciously.

Practice / Feedback Assessment

Discuss taking a weather observation emphasising the need to take observations using an approved method. Mention that a weather observation on the fire ground should include cloud, visibility and wind as a minimum. Temperature (in the shade) and humidity can also be taken if the appropriate equipment is available. This leads onto S6 Discuss the criteria to follow in order to obtain accurate weather observations, mentioning how important it is to fulfil these criteria otherwise the weather observation is likely to be irrelevant, and of little use to meteorologists, fire ground planners, etc.

Q20

S5

Q20

S6

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Learning and Assessment Strategy

Section 3 . Session 8 Weather observations on the Fire Ground (including Weather Observation Activity) Content Points Take the observation in a clear and well exposed area away from trees or the forest canopy Ideally take the observation in an elevated location However, the observation site should reflect the type of terrain in which the fire is currently burning. Instructional Method Practice / Feedback Assessment Time: 30 min Aids / Refs

A fire ground weather observation should include cloud, wind and visibility. Cloud observations Cloud observations should include the cloud type and amount as a minimum. Cloud type: Stratiform or Cumuliform Introduce cloud observations and talk about the large variety of cloud types and the difficulty in discerning between them sometimes. Emphasise how it is important to just look for the basic forms of stratiform or cumuliform. Mention that a minimum cloud thickness of 1 km is required for precipitation to occur and many factors can influence this including temperature and moisture levels. Discuss the common cloud types found at different levels in the atmosphere:
16 November, 2007 FW1 Learning and Assessment Strategy

S7

High level cloud e.g. cirrocumulus, cirrostratus and cirrus; Medium level cloud e.g. altocumulus and altostratus; and Low level cloud e.g. nimbostratus, stratocumulus, stratus and cumulus.
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Learning and Assessment Strategy

Section 3 . Session 8 Weather observations on the Fire Ground (including Weather Observation Activity) Content Points Mention that: Although some clouds have a low base they can extend to high altitudes such as cumulonimbus. The height of the mixing depth can be estimated from cloud height. Emphasise that cloud observations can give an indication of atmospheric stability. Refer attendees to the Learning Manual to see photos of the various cloud types. This leads onto S8. Stratiform clouds Stratiform clouds: are generally flat in appearance and of low to medium height typically display extensive horizontal rather than vertical development Can give rise to precipitation that is more continuous rather than showery Discuss Stratiform clouds they are low grey clouds, fog at ground level. S8 Instructional Method Practice / Feedback Assessment Time: 30 min Aids / Refs

Stratiform clouds can be a precursor to a coming weather change e.g. an approaching frontal passage. Cumuliform Cumuliform clouds are generally heaped in appearance and of low to medium height;
16 November, 2007 FW1 Learning and Assessment Strategy

Discuss Cumuliform clouds - they are the fluffy clouds children draw.

S9

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Learning and Assessment Strategy

Section 3 . Session 8 Weather observations on the Fire Ground (including Weather Observation Activity) Content Points however cumulonimbus clouds can stretch the entire height of the troposphere. These clouds display greater vertical rather than horizontal development indicating convective activity and an unstable atmosphere; in an unstable atmosphere fire behaviour is less predictable. Showers and thunderstorms are more likely to occur from cumuliform clouds. Cloud amount Cloud amount is estimated in eighths (or oktas) or as: Clear (no cloud) Partly cloudy (cloud cover of less than 50%) Mostly cloudy (50% to less than full cloud cover) Discuss visibility look around the area and estimate using known landmarks and a map. S11 Discuss cloud amount stating that it is sometimes difficult to estimate, but to do the best you can in the circumstances. S10 Instructional Method Practice / Feedback Assessment Time: 30 min Aids / Refs

Overcast (full cloud cover) Visibility Visibility can be determined by comparing visual estimations with a map indicating the distance to known points. Wind speed observations mechanical Obtaining wind speed observations with an anemometer is typically done at about 2
16 November, 2007 FW1 Learning and Assessment Strategy

Discuss mechanical wind speed observations emphasising the need for a 10m wind speed for accuracy (this is typically stronger than a 2m

S12

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Learning and Assessment Strategy

Section 3 . Session 8 Weather observations on the Fire Ground (including Weather Observation Activity) Content Points metres, with the anemometer held into the wind it can then be converted to a 10m wind speed. The anemometer should be held for 10 minutes to get an average wind speed and also a maximum gust in that time frame. Wind speed observations visual Wind speed is typically measured using an instrument such as an anemometer; however visual indicators can also be used if instrumentation is not available. Visual indicators include: Watching cloud movement as the behaviour of clouds will give an indication of wind conditions at that particular altitude Noting the speed of smoke movement Watching the movement of trees and vegetation use the Beaufort Scale Discuss the Beaufort Scale - wind speeds are provided for both 2m and 10m winds 10m wind is that used by the Bureau. Mention that a 2m wind can be converted to a 10m wind. S14 Discuss visible wind speed observations. Emphasise that you dont need equipment to take an estimated wind observation using the Beaufort scale or otherwise. S13 wind speed). Instructional Method Practice / Feedback Assessment Time: 30 min Aids / Refs

Beaufort scale This scale equates visual wind observations with a specific speed the Beaufort scale can be used when the observer does not have a mechanical anemometer. Wind direction
16 November, 2007 FW1 Learning and Assessment Strategy

Discuss methods of obtaining wind direction

S15
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Learning and Assessment Strategy

Section 3 . Session 8 Weather observations on the Fire Ground (including Weather Observation Activity) Content Points Wind direction can be estimated using a vane. Without specialist equipment it can be obtained using a compass or map and the following methods: Analysing the direction of fire, smoke or cloud movement; and Analysing the directional movement of trees and other foliage. Discuss the factors to consider when taking wind observations there are quite a few potential problems to encounter when taking wind measurements. Mention that a fire ground weather observation is never going to be as accurate as an Automatic Weather Station but that people should do what they can in the circumstances, give comments and if in doubt describe what they did. S16 Instructional Method emphasising that direction is just as important as speed. Remember to convert to true north from magnetic north when using a compass and that the convention for recording wind direction is noting where it has come from. Practice / Feedback Assessment Time: 30 min Aids / Refs

Factors to consider when taking wind observations Convection / Instability Any high based cumuliform cloud has the potential to produce gusty and erratic wind behaviour A dramatic increase in wind speed can result from the breakdown of the overnight inversion Wind speed and direction fluctuates significantly throughout the day - take an observation over a ten minute time period Try and take the observation at a height

Inversion

Diurnal variations in wind speed behaviour

Height of observation

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Learning and Assessment Strategy

Section 3 . Session 8 Weather observations on the Fire Ground (including Weather Observation Activity) Content Points of 10m Precipitation and humidity It is quite straightforward to detect precipitation; however it must not be assumed that the presence of rain means that the relative humidity has reached 100%. Relative humidity only reaches 100% in clouds, and the presence of fog is the only clear indicator that humidity at ground level has reached 100%. Weather Observation Activity This is an assessed component of FW1. Introduce this assessed component of FW1 use the assessment sheet as an overhead. Give attendees a copy of the activity assessment sheet. Go outside and take a weather observation with attendees using the assessment sheet. Some work needs to be completed using the Bureau of Meteorology website regarding the current local weather in the area. Compare the current Bureau forecast and Automatic Weather Station observations, and any current warnings, with the attendees observations. Discuss the results.
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Time: 30 min Aids / Refs

Instructional Method

Practice / Feedback Assessment

Discuss precipitation and humidity. Emphasise that rain does not mean it is 100% humidity.

S17

Weather Observation Activity handout

S18 & Weather Observation Activity handout

16 November, 2007 FW1 Learning and Assessment Strategy

Learning and Assessment Strategy

Section 3 . Session 8 Weather observations on the Fire Ground (including Weather Observation Activity) Content Points Instructional Method Attendees can work individually or as small group however all must complete an assessment sheet. Course convener to mark each student as competent/not yet competent /recheck. Summary Review summary points identified on slide. Review the key points from the session and ensure understanding. Self check questions to be done in attendees own time. S19 Practice / Feedback Assessment Time: 30 min Aids / Refs

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Learning and Assessment Strategy

Section 2 Learning Strategy Session 9: Group Activity Time: 60 min Aids Introduce Session: This session will combine all the work covered during Fire Weather 1 including meteorological concepts, satellite imagery, synoptic charts, observations, local weather effects, and the Bureau of Meteorology website. Course convener to give attendees a copy of the Group Activity assessment sheet. This constitutes part of the assessment for Fire Weather 1. Inform learners of Session enabling objectives: Inform learners of Session outline: The objective is to combine all the information covered during the day to prepare a weather forecast for a chosen location (taking into account local effects). Attendees are to split into groups of between two and four and must choose a forecast location. A number of questions must be answered on the assessment sheet using data extracted from the Bureau of Meteorology Registered User webpage taking into account the concepts studied during the course. FW1 sessions 1 8. Time

Stimulate recall of prior / prerequisite learning?:

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Learning and Assessment Strategy

Section 3. Session 9 Group Activity Content Points Group activity Instructional Method Course convener to talk attendees through what is required using the assessment sheet before they split into groups of between two and four to complete the activity. The idea is for attendees to work through the assessment sheet and then use this as a base to complete the tasks for their chosen forecast location. Course convener to assist attendees as they complete the task. Each group will present to the class their results course convener and rest of class to discuss. Course convener to mark each student as competent/not yet competent /recheck. Wrap up Wrap-up the Fire Weather 1 course after completing the Group Activity. Collect feedback forms. Practice / Feedback Assessment Group Activity handout Time: 60 min Aids / Refs Group Activity handout

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Learning and Assessment Strategy

Section 4 . Session / Program Review Summary / Review: Self-check questions in the Learning Manual and directed questioning / assessment during the course. The course is designed so that concepts discussed in the initial sessions act as a foundation for the later sessions. Aids Time

Learning Check:

Use a combination of assessment questions, group / individual activities, and direct questioning of attendees by course convener.

On the Job Practice:

Determined at state, regional or brigade level people with Fire Weather training may be asked to assist during fire ground / state preparedness planning etc.

Support / Encouragement Techniques: Further Training:

Regular practice as part of a skills maintenance program.

Determined at state, regional or brigade level as appropriate.

Program / Unit Evaluation:

A course evaluation form will be completed by all attendees where feedback can be given regarding course content and presentation.

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