Local-scale spatial modelling for interpolating climatic temperature variables to predict agricultural plant suitability

Matthew A Webb, Andrew Hall, Darren Kidd, Budiman Minansy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Assessment of local spatial climatic variability is important in the planning of planting locations for horticultural crops. This study investigated three regression-based calibration methods (i.e. traditional versus two optimized methods) to relate short-term 12-month data series from 170 temperature loggers and 4 weather station sites with data series from nearby long-term Australian Bureau of Meteorology climate stations. The techniques trialled to interpolate climatic temperature variables, such as frost risk, growing degree days (GDDs) and chill hours, were regression kriging (RK), regression trees (RTs) and random forests (RFs). All three calibration methods produced accurate results, with the RK-based calibration method delivering the most accurate validation measures: coefficients of determination (R 2) of 0.92, 0.97 and 0.95 and root-mean-square errors of 1.30, 0.80 and 1.31 °C, for daily minimum, daily maximum and hourly temperatures, respectively. Compared with the traditional method of calibration using direct linear regression between short-term and long-term stations, the RK-based calibration method improved R 2 and reduced root-mean-square error (RMSE) by at least 5 % and 0.47 °C for daily minimum temperature, 1 % and 0.23 °C for daily maximum temperature and 3 % and 0.33 °C for hourly temperature. Spatial modelling indicated insignificant differences between the interpolation methods, with the RK technique tending to be the slightly better method due to the high degree of spatial autocorrelation between logger sites.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1145-1165
Number of pages21
JournalTheorectical and Applied Climatology
Issue number3-4
Early online date2015
Publication statusPublished - 2016


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