You are here: NRS Home / Scientists & Staff / Warren E. Heilman

Scientists & Staff

Warren E. Heilman

Research Meteorologist
Climate, Fire, and Carbon Cycle Sciences
3101 Technology Blvd., Ste. F
Lansing, MI 48910
Phone: 517-884-8063

Send Email


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.

Research Interests

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.

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

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.

Education

  • 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

  • American Geophysical Union, Full Member (2009 - Current)
  • International Association of Wildland Fire, Full Member (2007 - Current)
  • American Meteorological Society, Full Member (1984 - Current)
  • Sigma Pi Sigma (Society of Physics Students), Full Member (1978 - Current)
  • National Fire Protection Association, Full Member (1992 - 1997)

Featured Publications & Products

Publications & Products

National Research Highlights

Advancing Understanding of Atmospheric Interactions with Wildfires (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.


Fireflux Experiments Improve Safety of Prescribed Burns in the New Jersey Pine Barrens (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 and within prescribed fires in the New Jersey Pine Barrens. The tools and observational data from this project help fire and forest managers in planning for prescribed burns to minimize adverse air-quality impacts in the vicinity of the burns.


Modeling Tool Improves Smoke Dispersion Predictions During Low-Intensity Fires (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 residents and firefighters near wildfires.


Potential Effects of Regional Climate Change on Fire Weather in the U.S. (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 conducive to extreme fire behavior.


Last updated on : 04/01/2015