Zombie Fire: A New Fire hazard?
Zombie Fire is the hottest new smartphone app on the market--and one of the most interesting and unique applications to hit the Android ecosystem. The zombie is a real-time simulation of fire that's been programmed by researchers at the University ofeston UK. Researchers have developed complex computer algorithms which will identify zombie fires (which also known as holdover or smolder fires) which smolder into carbon-rich pea-like soils, then reignite several months later. In a paper published in the Journal of Applied Ecology, a team of researchers from the University ofeston UK describe how their algorithm is able to generate this kind of realistic simulation.
Zombie fire is a unique application, since it simulates the rapid spread of forest fires, which cause extensive carbon dioxide release and black carbon aerosols. In the past, researchers were only able to simulate regional climate changes, such as day or night temperatures and relative humidity, in order to assess local fire risks using historical data. The Zombie Fire project is designed to give mobile environmental scientists and managers an unprecedentedly comprehensive and dynamic graphical representation of future CO2 emissions from a variety of future burning scenarios, using a combination of satellite, airborne, and ground observation data.
The Zombie Fire app will also allow users to observe global warming and its effect on arctic climate. The team is currently testing the application in five different parts of Alaska, where they are using a combination of daytime and nighttime imagery and the same fire behavior to identify and characterize potential fuel sources and ignition spots. In addition, the team is also looking into how global warming may affect the distribution of zombie fires and their specific biological components.