From Stormscapes to Wildfires: On the Physically-based Modeling and Simulation of Complex Natural Phenomena

  • Torsten Hädrich

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


We propose a new atmospheric model based on first-principles for the simulation of clouds. Our approach is able to simulate the realistic formation of various cloud types, such as cumulus, stratus, stratocumulus, their temporal evolution, and transitions between cloud types. Moreover, we are able to model strongly rotating thunderstorms known as supercells. Our method allows us to simulate cloud formations of up to about 20 km 20 km at interactive rates. For the intuitive exploration, we identified a light-weight parameter set to interactively explore cloud formations. We demonstrate that our model can be coupled with data from real-time weather services to simulate cloud formations in the now. Moreover, we present a novel approach for the simulation of wildfires. Our model is able to realistically capture the combustion process of trees, heat transfer with the environment and fire propagation between trees. We demonstrate that our approach is capable of realistically simulating the propagation of fire through entire ecosystems with varying vegetation occupancy. We integrated our atmospheric model which allows us to simulated clouds emerging from the evaporation of water from burning trees leading to complex so called flammagenitus patterns which are usually observed over wildfires. Our system runs at interactive rates which enables the exploration of wildfires in different environments.
Date of AwardOct 28 2021
Original languageEnglish (US)
Awarding Institution
  • Computer, Electrical and Mathematical Sciences and Engineering
SupervisorDominik Michels (Supervisor)


  • Computer Graphics
  • wildfires
  • Numerical Simulation
  • combustion
  • Physics-based Modeling
  • Fluid Dynamics

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