Agricultural losses related to frost events: use of the 850 hPa level temperature as an explanatory variable of the damage cost
The objective of this study is the analysis of damaging frost events in agriculture, by examining the relationship between the daily minimum temperature in the lower atmosphere (at an isobaric level of 850 hPa) and crop production losses. Furthermore, the study suggests a methodological approach for estimating agriculture risk due to frost events, with the aim of estimating the short-term probability and magnitude of frost-related financial losses for different levels of 850 hPa temperature. Compared with near-surface temperature forecasts, temperature forecasts at the level of 850 hPa are less influenced by varying weather conditions or by local topographical features; thus, they constitute a more consistent indicator of the forthcoming weather conditions.
The analysis of the daily monetary compensations for insured crop losses caused by weather events in Greece shows that, during the period 1999–2011, frost caused more damage to crop production than any other meteorological phenomenon. Two regions of different geographical latitudes are examined further, to account for the differences in the temperature ranges developed within their ecological environment. Using a series of linear and logistic regressions, we found that minimum temperature (at an 850 hPa level), grouped into three categories according to its magnitude, and seasonality, are significant variables when trying to explain crop damage costs, as well as to predict and quantify the likelihood and magnitude of damaging frost events.