Understanding Frost Risk

Steven Crimp - CSIRO Agriculture and Food

Type: Research Paper
Knowledge level: Advanced

Farm Table says:

While this work does represent a considerable step forward in characterising changing frost risk, there are a number of important knowledge gaps and possible next steps in developing a further understanding of the changing nature of frost risk


In a variable and changing climate

What is the problem?

This research has examined the changing nature of frost across southern Australia.

What did the research involve?

This project has identified the synoptic drivers (intensification and southerly displacement of the sub-tropical ridge) responsible for these changes, examined how these drivers may change in the future and what this might mean for future frost and production risks at 2030.

It has undertaken an extensive analysis of high quality climate data from across the country and identified consistent changes in frost frequency (increases in eastern Australia) and changes in seasonality (earlier and later frost occurrence in the east and later occurrence in the west).

What were the key findings?

The topics below outline  the broader findings of each aspect of this research:

  • frost trends – the spatial analysis shows much of the change in the number of frost events has occurred in the months of August and September and across the past two decades
  • frost and synoptic analyses   – the results show that frost events occur with a southern and westward displacement of high pressure systems
  • frost prediction using SPTimer
  • interactions between frost and wheat phenology
  • interactions between frost and wine phenology

The results of this project clearly demonstrate that a multi-scale approach to characterise spatial and temporal coherence of frost occurrence has been achieved, with the research findings applying to both historical and future climate risk.

Final comment

The project developed GRDC and Grape and Wine Research and Development Corporation (GWRDC) relevant fact sheets and reports outlining the results of the research, as well as one peer-reviewed journal article.

2016 - Australia - Steven Crimp - CSIRO Agriculture and Food
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