A Community Frost/Freeze Susceptibility Operational Guidance Tool
Curtis, Allan ; Hall, Beth ; Timlin, Michael ; Hilberg, Steven ; Woloszyn, Mary

Additional Authors: Zoe Zaloudek, Midwestern Regional Climate Center; Patrick Guinan, University of Missouri-Columbia; Jeffrey Andresen, Michigan State University; Mark Longstroth, Michigan State University; Ray Wolf, NOAA/National Weather Service

Abstract: In response to historical costly and damaging freeze events in the north-central United States, the Midwestern Regional Climate Center (MRCC) has teamed up with the National Weather Service (NWS), State Climatologists, and university extension agricultural and horticultural specialists to develop an operational online guidance tool to help monitor, assess, and mitigate these extreme weather phenomena. The Vegetation Impact Program (VIP), hosted by the MRCC, was established in spring 2013 to provide a partnership opportunity among these stakeholders of vegetation and climate monitoring. It offers an online portal to operational assessment tools, a means of communicating status of vegetative growth and climate conditions in the region, and multiple methods of communicating between sectors and stakeholders. The Frost/Freeze Project is the first impact monitoring project within VIP and was inspired by NWS forecasters requesting help attaining decision-making assistance and guidance tools both within the NWS community and the community of vegetation experts. Early accomplishments have included: (1) the development of daily, operational climate monitoring maps based upon in situ atmospheric observations from the cooperative network (Co-op), (2) development of online guidance and impact reporting forms for VIP subscribers to submit their observations from both the field and forecasting offices, and (3) an email listserv for the VIP community to share general information. Future plans include expanding the spatial domain of the project to the 48 states, incorporating hourly observations from both national and local/state mesonets, and integrating digital forecast data real-time to provide vegetation susceptibility and risk guidance tools.