The GrasSAT project is a Polish-Norwegian collaboration funded through the POLNOR 2019 programme from the EEA grants Poland. The project aims to develop tools to forecast grassland damage due to freeze-thaw or drought events and predict grassland yield. These tools can be used as decision support by farmers and agricultural advisors. Ongoing climate change, increased stress due to human activity and inadequate management contribute to decreased grassland productivity and habitat quality. In Northern Norway, winter damage and annual variation in productivity are the main challenges for grassland forage production, while drought is a main challenge in Poland. To mitigate or avoid stress, precise information about grass growth conditions is needed. The methodology for monitoring grass growth conditions and yield forecast will be based on synergistic use of remotely sensed data, process-based grassland models and reference in-situ data. Combining these tools to predict freeze/thaw and drought stress events and yield of grasslands can help farmers to plan for import of extra feed and forage if needed, and to detect areas with high water stress.
Additional funding through the Fram Centre Terrestrial Flagship will be allocated to 1) comparing classifications of ground cover by a newly developed software and traditional visual classification method, 2) developing protocols for in-situ snow and ice measurements to calibrate and validate satellite derived information about snow cover, and surface ice and water conditions, and 3) implementing a web-based protocol for real time dissemination of frost hardiness (LT50) of the sward on representative fields as simulations to stakeholders.