Frosts, food and satellites: developing a national frost monitoring system

December 10th, 2020

Frost on grassLate season frosts – ones that occur in Spring when frost-sensitive flowers and fruit are forming – cause widespread damage to grain crops. Over a typical year, frosts cost the Australian agricultural industry over a billion dollars.

Once a crop is planted, there is little that can be done to avoid late frost damage. There is still value though in knowing when, where and how severely a frost has happened as it can help growers decide whether cutting now for hay or continuing through to grain harvest will maximise their profits.

Despite the value of such frost information, there is currently no means of remotely detecting frost events both at fine scales and across large areas.

Using land surface temperature data derived from a weather satellite, we’re attempting to develop a near-real-time, national frost event detection system that can provide continuous information on frost occurrence, duration and severity within 12 hours of it happening.

If you’d like to know more or would like to view some of our prototype frost occurrence data for 2019, check out the project page here.