LANL scientists team up with farmers to help monitor frost, protect crops

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ALBUQUERQUE N.M. – Scientists at Los Alamos National Lab are working with farmers across New Mexico to help identify techniques that can mitigate crop-damaging frost events, especially during the critical frost season from late February to the end of April.

"Frost will kill off a lot of different crops during the early flowering and bud stages," Brandon Crawford, a LANL scientist, said. "We’re using this data to start building predictive models to hopefully be able to identify frost 12 or 24 hours in advance."

The scientists are going farm to farm, collecting data from their various temperature sensors to see how temperatures vary. They’re also trying to identify sources of cold air using drone-based observations and data-driven models.

"It lets us identify things like, where does the wind come from? The colder temperatures coming off the river coming from? And what sort of barriers could you potentially put up to block that? What sort of flood irrigation should you do? When should you do your flood irrigation?” he said.