THE CLIMATE KELPIE BLOG: Understanding frost risk in a variable and changing climate

Posted by eConnect on 30th April 2014

Research objective

Improve our understanding of the variability and changing nature of frost risk (frequency and occurrence) at both seasonal and decadal scales for the southern regions of Australia, and implications for the wine and grain industries.

Project duration

2010 – 2013


We have analysed the major synoptic drivers of frost. We have examined data from 6 climate stations in north-west Victoria for the period 1956–2010 along with preliminary analyses for locations in New South Wales and Western Australia.

We have assessed the interaction between changing frost risk and changing responses in grain phenology for 17 sites across the Victorian region. For each site, we calculated the probabilities of frost occurrence.

We have completed the spatial analysis of frost trends such as minimum temperatures, numbers of frosts, cold-wave duration, and frost-season length. The proportion of events above the long-term 90th percentile has been finalised.

We have developed a statistical model of frost frequency for southern New South Wales and northern Victoria—the region of strongest change frequency and occurrence.

We have benchmarked VineLOGIC for 4 grape-growing locations in the Yarra Valley. We assessed the effect of climate change on budburst [the emergence of new leaves at the start of growing season] for four main grape varieties grown in this region. Through this process we have developed a much clearer understanding of the drivers of frost risk and have produced a Bayesian spatio-temporal model to model both current and future frost risk.

Read the final report [PDF 4.7 Mb]

Research contact

Dr Steven Crimp

CSIRO Ecosystem Sciences

Phone: 02 6242 1649

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