Wine grapes are a climatically sensitive crop grown across a fairly narrow geographic range. Growing season temperatures for high-quality wine production is generally limited to 13–21°C on the average. This currently encompasses the Old World appellation regions of France, Italy, Germany, Spain and the Balkans, and those developing New World regions in California, Chile, Argentina, southern Australia and New Zealand.
Speaking at the International Masters of Wine Symposium last month in Florence in Italy, professor Greg Jones, the wine climate specialist from the University of Southern Oregon, noted that the overall growing season temperature trend was upwards. This is for numerous wine regions across the globe from 1950–2000, by 1.3°C. Greater growing season heat accumulation with warmer and longer seasons has occurred. At the same time frost days (days below 0°C) have decreased from 40 to around 12 per year at Blenheim.
There has been a decline in the number of days of frost that is most significant in the dormant period and spring, earlier last spring frosts, later first frosts in autumn with longer frost-free periods. For example in Tuscany, the Chianti region of Italy, summer temperatures have increased by 2°C from 1955-2004. The warming is extending the world’s wine map into new areas such as British Columbia in Canada, Exmoor in England and into the southern Baltic.
Continue reading “In vino, climate veritas: Salinger on warming and the new world of wine”
This year really has started with a bang. An unusual concatenation of weather extremes — Britain’s stormy and wet winter – the wettest since records began, 250 years ago – the warm winter in Russia and Alaska, drought in California and Australian heatwaves — has caused many people to consider the role that climate change might have played in driving those weather events. For once, public debate has moved away from the tired old is it/isn’t it happening frame and into concern about what living in a warming world might actually mean for us all. This makes Jim Salinger’s latest book, Living In A Warmer World – How a changing climate will affect our lives (Bateman NZ, 2013) especially welcome.
Salinger has drawn on all the relationships he has built up over a 40 year career as a climate scientist, including a spell as president of the WMO Commission for Agricultural Meteorology, to bring together some of the world’s leading experts on climate impacts. Each is given a chapter to look at what might be coming down the road, and it makes for essential, if sobering reading.
Continue reading “Living in a warmer world”
Two major new government reports on New Zealand’s emissions projections and the expected impacts of four degrees of warming on NZ agriculture were released without fanfare last Friday — the timing clearly designed to minimise media fallout from reports that highlight the paucity and ineffectiveness of current climate policy settings.
Climate change minister Tim Groser dutifully issued a press release welcoming the release of New Zealand’s Sixth National Communication under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and Kyoto Protocol, the first such report since 2009. Groser praised government policies, but failed to draw attention to the fact that his own report shows NZ emissions failing to meet the government’s targeted cuts, or that current policy settings will do little to reduce them — let alone achieve reductions by comparison with 1990 levels. This graph of actual and projected net emissions out to 2030 tells the story of the Key government’s abject policy failure:
Continue reading “NZ government climate policy: look, a squirrel!”
Kicking off the afternoon sessions on the first day of this year’s NZ CCC conference, Professor Barry Smit of the University of Guelph in Canada launched his keynote — titled From theory to practice, from impacts to adaptation (abstract) — with a rousing climate version of Let It Be. I caught up with him during the evening reception, but didn’t ask him to sing…
Regular listeners to The Climate Show will know that I often witter on about what I’ve been up to in my little vineyard. At Limestone Hills we grow pinot noir and syrah grapes and make small quantities of wine. It’s more than drinkable. One day it may even be very good. If we get that far, it will be because our back paddock has an interesting terroir (and because we will have worked hard). It will therefore come as no surprise that I follow how the wine business approaches climate change with more than passing interest. A few days ago a local winemaker blogged about a new book. Wine, Terroir and Climate Change by Aussie scientist Dr John Gladstones, noting that Gladstones was “sceptical about the degree of climate change that will occur and thus the degree of effect on terroir“. Unsurprisingly, the usual suspects have rushed to welcome a new member to their ranks. I decided to do a little digging… Continue reading “The climate terroirist – Gladstones’ new bag”