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Warren E. Heilman

Research Meteorologist
Climate, Fire, and Carbon Cycle Sciences
3101 Discovery Dr., Ste. F
Lansing, MI 48910
United States
Current Research

My current research is focused on (1) developing new predictive tools for fire-weather, fire behavior, and air quality in support of the Forest Service's Fire and Fuels R&D Strategy, (2) examining fire-fuel-atmosphere interactions, turbulence regimes, and local dispersion of smoke during wildland fire events, and (3) examining the effects of climate variability and landscape change on fire-weather patterns over the U.S.

Past Research
  1. Remote Sensing of Canopy Temperatures
  2. Atmospheric Turbulence Modeling over Complex Terrain and Vegetated Surfaces
  3. Integration of Improved Deposition Velocity, Aerosol Coagulation, and Intefacial Volume Chemical Flux Parameterizations within EPA's Air Quality Models
  4. Synoptic Circulation, Temperature, and Moisture Patterns Associated with Wildland Fires
  5. Atmospheric Boundary-Layer Dynamics in the Vicinity of Wildland Fires
  6. Climate and Air Quality Conditions in the Ozark-Ouachita Highlands Region of Southern Missouri, Arkansas, and Eastern Oklahoma
  7. Development of Online Climate Variability and Atmospheric-Related Disturbance Information Systems for Natural Resource Managers
  8. Impacts of Greenhouse Gases on Forest Microclimates
  9. Ozone Pollution in the North Central and Northeastern U.S.: Current and Future Landscape Change Impacts on Ozone Risk to Forests
Research Interest
In support of the Forest Service's Fire and Fuels R&D Strategy and the new Northern Station's priority research themes, my future research ideas include an examination of
  1. atmospheric turbulence processes involved in extreme fire behavior,
  2. the dynamics of pollutant formation and transport in the vicinity of wildland and prescribed fires, and
  3. the interacting effects of regional climate change/variability, landscape change, and pollutant emissions on forest health in the Great Lakes region.
Why This Research Is Important
This research is important because it
  1. increases our fundamental understanding of how the atmosphere interacts with forest and rangeland ecosystems,
  2. increases our understanding of those atmospheric processes that impact disturbance frequency and severity, and
  3. lays the foundation for the development of new predictive tools to anticipate weather and climate-related disturbances and their effects on ecosystem health and human health and safety.
  • Iowa State University, Ph.D., Meteorology, 1988
  • Iowa State University, M.S., Meteorology, 1984
  • South Dakota State University, B.S., Physics, 1979
Professional Experience
  • Supervisory Research Meteorologist,  USDA Forest Service, Northern Research Station,  2009 - Current
  • Research Meteorologist,  USDA Forest Service, Northern Research Station,  2007 - 2009
  • Project Leader/Research Meteorologist,  USDA Forest Service, North Central Research Station,  1993 - 2007
  • Acting Project Leader/Research Meteorologist,  USDA Forest Service, North Central Research Station,  1992 - 1993
  • Research Meteorologist,  USDA Forest Service, North Central Research Station,  1990 - 1992
  • Research Scientist,  Computer Sciences Corporation,  1988 - 1989
  • Graduate Research Assistant,  Department of Geological and Atmospheric Sciences, Iowa State University,  1985 - 1988
  • Instructor,  Department of Geological and Atmospheric Sciences, Iowa State University,  1984 - 1985
  • Graduate Research and Teaching Assistant,  Department of Geological and Atmospheric Sciences, Iowa State University,  1981 - 1984
  • Graduate Teaching Assistant,  Department of Physics, Iowa State University,  1980 - 1981
  • Research Assistant,  Radiological and Environmental Research Division, Argonne National Laboratory,  1980 - 1980
  • Research Assistant,  Remote Sensing Institute, South Dakota State University,  1978 - 1980
  • Research Assistant,  Department of Physics, South Dakota State University,  1979 - 1979
Professional Organizations
  • Full Member,  American Geophysical Union,  2009 - Current
  • Full Member,  International Association of Wildland Fire,  2007 - Current
  • Full Member,  American Meteorological Society,  1984 - Current
  • Full Member,  Sigma Pi Sigma (Society of Physics Students),  1978 - Current
  • Full Member,  National Fire Protection Association,  1992 - 1997
Featured Publications
Other Publications
Citations of Non-Forest Service Publications
  • Heilman, James L.; Heilman, Warren E.; Moore, Donald G.; 1981. Remote sensing of canopy temperature at incomplete cover. Agronomy Journal 73: 403-406.
  • Sheih, Ching M.; Heilman, Warren E.; 1981. Preliminary investigations of pollutant distribution in a two-dimensional street canyon. Fifth Symposium on Turbulence, Diffusion, and Air Pollution, 9-13 March 1981, Atlanta, GA. American Meteorological Society. pp. 192-193.
  • Heilman, James L.; Heilman, Warren E.; Moore, Donald G.; 1982. Evaluating the crop coefficient using spectral reflectance. Agronomy Journal 74: 967-971.
  • Heilman, Warren E.; 1984. A one-dimensional numerical simulation of the boundary-layer features over a uniformly vegetated sloping surface. Masters Thesis, Iowa State University. 236 p.
  • Heilman, Warren E.; Dobosy, Ronald; 1985. A nocturnal atmospheric drainage flow simulation investigating the application of one-dimensional modeling and current turbulence schemes. Journal of Climate and Applied Meteorology 24: 924-936.
  • Heilman, Warren E.; 1986. Using PCDS to study the influence of UV flux variation on the middle atmosphere. Proceedings of the Second Pilot Climate Data System Workshop, 29-30 January 1986, Greenbelt, MD. NASA Conference Publication 2430, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD. pp. 41-53.
  • Heilman, Warren E.; 1988. Two-dimensional numerical simulations of the turbulence characteristics over Rattlesnake Mountain during stable and unstable conditions. Ph.D. Dissertation, Iowa State University. 135 p.
  • Young, J. O., Aissa, M.; Boehm, T. L.; Coats, C. J.; Eichinger, J. R.; Grimes, D. J.; Hallyburton, S. W.; Heilman, W. E.; Olerud, D. T.; Roselle, S. J.; Van Meter, A. R.; Wayland R. A.; Pierce, T. E.; 1989. Development of the Regional Oxidant Model Version 2.1. Atmospheric Research and Exposure Assessment Laboratory, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. 55 p.
  • Pierce, T. E.; Schere, K. L.;Doll, D. C.; Heilman, W. E.; 1990. Evaluation of the Regional Oxidant Model (Version 2.1) using ambient and diagnostic simulations. Atmospheric Research and Exposure Assessment Laboratory, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. 6 p.
  • Heilman, Warren E.; Fast, Jerome D.; 1991. Two-dimensional numerical simulations of atmospheric conditions near lines of extreme surface heating. Proceedings of the 11th Conference on Fire and Forest Meteorology, 16-19 April 1991, Missoula, MT. Society of American Foresters, Bethesda, MD. pp. 541-548.
Research Highlights

Understanding Wind Gusts During Fire can Help Fire and Smoke Managers

Year: 2018
Wind fields in the vicinity of wildland fires can be highly variable or turbulent, exhibiting significant gusts that can lead to erratic fire behavior and enhanced mixing of smoke into the atmosphere. Northern Research Station scientists are examining the properties of turbulent circulations in for...

El Niño and El Niño Modoki impacts on extreme precipitation in the U.S.

Year: 2017
Many areas of the U.S. are vulnerable to socioeconomic disruptions caused by extreme precipitation and resulting floods, and there has been an increasing trend in both the frequency and particularly the intensity of extreme precipitation. Forest Service research is helping to identify the different ...

The Influence of Forest Gaps on Fire-Atmosphere Interactions

Year: 2016
Model simulations have been used to examine how gaps in forest stands can affect the response of the atmosphere to low-intensity wildland fires occurring in those stands. The study provides insight into potential smoke dispersion and fire behavior during low-intensity prescribed fires in forested en...

Unraveling the Mysteries of Fire-induced Weather

Year: 2015
Observational data and model simulations have been used by Forest Service scientists and their partners to examine turbulent circulations in the vicinity of wildland fires in forested and complex terrain environments. The research results improves scientists’ understanding of how fire-induced weathe...

Potential Effects of Regional Climate Change on Fire Weather in the U.S.

Year: 2014
Regional climate change has the potential to alter the frequency of extreme and erratic wildfires in the United States. Regional climate model projections of future climate conditions in different regions of the U.S. can to identify areas where the atmospheric environment may be more or less conduc...

Modeling Tool Improves Smoke Dispersion Predictions During Low-Intensity Fires

Year: 2013
Forest Service scientists developed a new modeling tool to improve predictions of local smoke transport during low-intensity wildland fires in forested environments. This modeling tool will help fire and forest managers in planning for prescribed fires to minimize adverse air-quality effects on resi...

Fireflux Experiments Improve Safety of Prescribed Burns in the New Jersey Pine Barrens

Year: 2011
Predicting the effects of smoke from low-intensity prescribed fires on local air-quality is being made easier by new tools developed by Forest Service scientists. These tools are now being validated through data collected from fuels, meteorological, and air quality monitoring networks set up near an...

Advancing Understanding of Atmospheric Interactions with Wildfires

Year: 2010
Through partnerships with San Jose State University, Michigan State University, and the Silas Little Experimental Forest, modeling and experimental research has led to an improved understanding of the role that air turbulence can play in affecting wildfires and smoke in different regions of the U.S.