As part of part of a special issue on natural hazards, this paper explores recent changes in Australian minimum temperature extremes. Using minimum temperature data from the 112 observation locations making up the Australian Climate Observations Reference Network – Surface Air Temperature (ACORN-SAT) data set, as well as the Scientific Information for Land Owners (SILO) minimum temperature gridded data surface, we analyse and map trends in extreme minimum temperature indices across southern Australia at seasonal, annual and multi-decadal timeframes since 1960. Our analyses highlights that across southern Australia, despite a warming trend of 0.17 °C per decade since 1960 in the mean annual minimum temperature, there exist regions of localised cooling as well as a much broader spatially-coherent pattern of increasing “frost season” length. Our analysis identifies that the “frost season length” has, across the whole southern portion of Australia, increased on average by 26 days (at 2014) compared with the 1960 to 1990 long term mean. Some areas of south eastern Australia now experience their last frost an average four weeks later than in the 1960s (i.e. mean date of last frost for the period 1960 to 1970 was 19 September versus 23 October for the period 2000 to 2014). Over isolated portions of southern Australia (i.e. northern Victoria and southern New South Wales), the annual frequency of frost events occurring after August has increased by as much as 4 events per year over the last decade, with localised increases in the occurrence of consecutive frost days also observed. This analysis builds upon earlier more localised trend analyses work by these authors (Crimp et al. 2015), as well as a growing body of international research, highlighting a complex spatio-temporal pattern of temperature change despite a general pattern of annual warming in minimum temperatures.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Alexander L, Hope P, Collins D, Trewin B, Lynch A, Nicholls N (2006a) Trends in Australia's climate means and extremes: a global context. Aust Meteorol Mag 56:1–18
Alexander LV, Zhang X, Peterson TC, Caesar J, Gleason B, Klein Tank AMG, Haylock M, Collins D, Trewin B, Rahimzadeh F, Tagipour A, Rupa Kumar K, Revadekar J, Griffiths G, Vincent L, Stephenson DB, Burn J, Aguilar E, Brunet M, Taylor M, New M, Zhai P, Rusticucci M, Vazquez-Aguirre JL (2006b) Global observed changes in daily climate extremes of temperature and precipitation. Journal Geophysical Research 111:D05109. doi:10.1029/2005JD006290
Allen RJ, DeGaetano AT (2000) A method to adjust long-term temperature extreme series for non-climatic inhomogeneities. J Clim 13:3680–3695
Allen MJ, Sheridan SC (2015) Evaluating changes in season length, onset, and end dates across the United States (1948–2012). International Journal of Climatology. doi:10.1002/joc.4422
Australian Climate Observations Reference Network–Surface Air Temperature (ACORN-SAT) (2015) — Report of the Technical Advisory Forum, Commonwealth of Australia.
Beesley CA, Frost AJ, and Zajaczkowski J. 2009. A comparison of the BAWAP and SILO spatially interpolated daily rainfall datasets. In 18th World IMACS/MODSIM Congress, (pp. 3886–3892). http://www.mssanz.org.au/modsim09/I13/beesley.pdf.
BoM-CSIRO (2014) State of the Climate. P 16 http://www.bom.gov.au/state-of-the-climate/documents/state-of-the-climate-2014_low-res.pdf?ref=button
Bonfils C, Santer BD, Pierce DW, Hidalgo HG, Bala G, Das T, Barnett TP, Cayan TR, Doutriaux C, Wood AW, Mirin A, Nozawa T (2008) Detection and attribution of temperature changes in the mountainous western United States. J Clim 21:6404–6424
Carter JO, Flood NF, Danaher T, Hugman P, Young R (1996) Development of data rasters for model inputs. In: Development of a national drought alert strategic information system, Vol. 4. Final Report on QPI 20 to LWRRDC.
Cayan D, Kammerdiener SA, Dettinger MD, Caprio JM, Peterson DH (2001) Changes in the onset of spring in the western United States. Bull Am Meteorol Soc 82:399–415. doi:10.1175/1520–0477(2001)082 < 0399:CITOOS > 2.3.CO;2
CDO (2015) Climate Data Operators. Available at: http://www.mpimet.mpg.de/cdo.
Cohen JL, Furtado JC, Barlow M, Alexeev VA, Cherry JE (2012) Asymmetric seasonal temperature trends. Geophys Res Lett 39(4):–L04705. doi:10.1029/2011GL050582
Collins D, Della-Marta P, Plummer N, Trewin B (2000) Trends in annual frequencies of extreme temperature events in Australia. Aust Meteorol Mag 49:277–292
Crimp S, Bakar K, Kokic P, Jin H, Nicholls N, Howden M (2015) Bayesian space-time model to analyse frost risk for agriculture in Southeast Australia. Int J Climatol 35(8):2092–2108
DeGaetano AT (2006) Attributes of several methods for detecting discontinuities in mean temperature series. J Clim 19:838–853
Della-Marta PM, Wanner H (2006) A method of homogenizing the extremes and mean of daily temperature measurements. J Clim 19:4179–4197
Della-Marta P, Collins D, Braganza K (2004) Updating Australia’s high-quality annual temperature dataset. Aust Meteorol Mag 53:75–93
Fischer EM, Knutti R (2014) Detection of spatially aggregated changes in temperature and precipitation extremes. Geophys Res Lett 41:547–554
Frederiks TM, Christopher JT, Sutherland MW, Borrell AK (2015) Post-head-emergence frost in wheat and barley: defining the problem, assessing the damage, and identifying resistance. J Exp Bot 66(12):3487–3498
Gu L, Hanson PJ, Mac Post W, Kaiser DP, Yang B, Nemani R, Pallardy SG, Meyers T (2008) The 2007 eastern US spring freeze: increased cold damage in a warming world? Bioscience 58(3):253–262. doi:10.1641/B580311
Hartmann DL, Klein Tank AMG, Rusticucci M, Alexander LV, Brönnimann S, Charabi Y, Dentener FJ, Dlugokencky EJ, Easterling DR, Kaplan A, Soden BJ, Thorne PW, Wisld M, Zhai PM (2013) In: Stocker TF, Qin D, Plattner G-K, Tignor M, Allen SK, Boschung J, Nauels A, Xia Y, Bex V, Midgley PM (eds) Observations: atmosphere and surface. In Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, UK and New York, NY
Hergel GC, Zwiers FW, Stott PA, Kharin VV (2004) Detectability of Anthropogenic Change in Annual Temperatures and Precipitation Extremes. Journal of Climate 17(19):3683–3700. doi:10.1175/1520–0442(2004)017 < 3683:DOACIA > 2.0.CO;2
IPCC (2013) Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [Stocker, T.F., D. Qin, G.-K. Plattner, M. Tignor, S.K. Allen, J. Boschung, A. Nauels, Y. Xia, V. Bex and P.M. Midgley (eds.)]. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USA, 1535 pp, doi:10.1017/CBO9781107415324.
Jeffrey SJ, Carter JO, Moodie KB, Beswick AR (2001) Using spatial interpolation to construct a comprehensive archive of Australian climate data. Environ Model Softw 16(4):309–330. doi:10.1016/S1364-8152(01)00008-1
Kalma JD, Laughlin GP, Caprio JM, Hamer PJC (1992) Advances in bioclimatology, 2. The bioclimatology of frost. Springer-Verlag, Berlin, p 144
Karoly DJ, Wu Q (2005) Detection of regional surface temperature trends. J Clim 18:4337–4343. doi:10.1175/JCLI3565.1
Kiem AS, Johnson F, Westra S, van Dijk A, Evans JP, O'Donnell A, Rouillard A, Barr C, Tyler J, Thyer M, Jakob D, Woldeskei F, Sivakumar B, Mehrotra R (2016) Natural Hazards in Austral: droughts. Climatic Change. doi:10.1007/s10584–016–1650-0
Kreyling J, Beier C (2013) Complexity in climate change manipulation experiments. Bioscience 63(9):763–767. doi:10.1093/bioscience/63.9.763
Lee J, Li S, Lund R (2015) Trends in extreme U.S. temperatures. Am Meteorol Soc 27:4209–4225. doi:10.1175/JCLI-D-13-00283.1
Li Y, Lund R (2015) Multiple Changepoint detection using metadata. J Clim 28(10):4199–4216
Liang L, Zhang X (2015) Coupled spatiotemporal variability of temperature and spring phenology in the Eastern United States. International Journal of Climatology. doi:10.1002/joc.4456
MAFF, (2011) Recent frost trends in New Zealand. Technical Paper No 2011/1. ISSN 2230–2794.
Matiu M, Ankerst DP, Menzel A (2015) Asymmetric trends in seasonal temperature variability in instrumental records from ten stations in Switzerland, Germany and the UK from 1864 to 2012. Int J Climatol 36:13–27
Murphy BF, Timbal B (2008) A review of recent climate variability and climate change in southeastern Australia. Int J Climatol 28:859–879. doi:10.1002/joc.1627
Mutiibwa D, Vavrus SJ, McAfee SA, Albright TP (2015) Recent spatiotemporal patterns in temperature extremes across conterminous United States. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres 120:7378–7392
NOAA, (2016) National Centers for Environmental Information, State of the Climate: Global Analysis for March 2016, published online April 2016, retrieved on May 2, 2016 from http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/global/201603.
Perkins-Kirkpatrick SE, White CJ, Alexander LV, Argüeso D, Boschat G, Cowan T, Evans JP, Ekström M, Oliver ECJ, Phatak A, Purich A (2016) Natural hazards in Australia: heatwaves. Climatic Change. doi:10.1007/s10584–016–1650-0
Power S, Tseitkin F, Torok S, Lavery B, Dahni R, McAvaney B (1998) Australian temperature, Australian rainfall and the Southern Oscillation Index, 1910-1992: coherent variability and recent changes. Aust Meteorol Mag 47:85–101
Rayner DP, Moodie KB, Beswick AR, Clarkson NM, and Hutchinson RL. (2004) New Australian daily historical climate surfaces using CLIMARC. Queensland Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy Report QNRME04247.
Schulzweida, U. (2014) Climate Data Operators (Version 1.6.4). Max-Planck-Institut für Meteorologie, Hamburg, Germany. https://code.zmaw.de/projects/cdo/.
Stone RC, Nicholls N, Hammer G (1996) Frost in Northeast Australia: trends and influences of phases of the southern oscillation. J Clim 9(8):1896–1909. doi:10.1175/1520--0442(1996)009<1896:FINATA > 2.0.CO;2
Timbal B, Drosdowsky W (2013) The relationship between the decline of southeastern Australian rainfall and the strengthening of the subtropical ridge. Int J Climatol 33:1021–1034. doi:10.1002/joc.3492
Timbal B, Fawcett R (2013) A historical perspective on southeastern Australian rainfall since 1865 using the instrumental record. J Clim 26:1112–1129
Tozer CR, Kiem AS, Verdon-Kidd DC (2011) On the uncertainties associated with using gridded rainfall data as a proxy for observed. Hydrology and Earth System Science Discussions 8:8399–8433. doi:10.5194/hessd-8-8399-2011
Trenberth KE (2015) Has there been a hiatus? Science 349:691–692
Trewin BC. (2012) Techniques used in developing the Australian Climate Observations Reference Network—Surface Air Temperature (ACORN-SAT) dataset. CAWCR Technical Report 49. Centre for Australian Weather and Climate Research, Melbourne, 92 pp. Available at http://cawcr.gov.au/publications/technicalreports/CTR_049.pdf . Accessed 1 January 2015.
Whan K, Timbal B, Lindesay J (2013) Linear and nonlinear statistical analysis of the impact of sub-tropical ridge intensity and position on south-east Australian rainfall. Int J Climatol 34:326–342. doi:10.1002/joc.3689
Zajaczkowski J, Wong K, Carter J (2013) Improved historical solar radiation gridded data for Australia. Environ Model Softw 49:64–77. doi:10.1016/j.envsoft.2013.06.013
Zheng B, Chapman SC, Christopher JT, Fredricks TM, Chenu K (2015) Frost trends and their estimated impact on yield in the Australian wheatbelt. J Exp Bot. doi:10.1093/jxb/erv163
The authors would like to acknowledge the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) for provision of its Australian Climate Observations Reference Network – Surface Air Temperature (ACORN-SAT) data and the Queensland Department of Science, Information Technology and Innovation (DSITIA) for provision of it SILO gridded minimum temperature date for analysis. We would also like to acknowledge that this research was made possible via financial support from the Managing Climate Variability Program (MCVP) as well as the Grape and Wine Research and Development Corporation (GWRDC). This paper was a result of collaboration through the ‘Trends and Extremes’ working group as part of the Australian Water and Energy Exchanges Initiative (OzEWEX).
This article is part of a Special Issue on “The effect of historical and future climate changes on natural hazards in Australia” edited by Seth Westra, Chris White and Anthony Kiem.
About this article
Cite this article
Crimp, S.J., Gobbett, D., Kokic, P. et al. Recent seasonal and long-term changes in southern Australian frost occurrence. Climatic Change 139, 115–128 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10584-016-1763-5
- Minimum Temperature
- Western Australia
- Season Length
- South Australia
- Frost Event