There is little doubt in the scientific community that this huge economy, based on grape growing, will be affected by this slow but steady climate change. However, how this region will be affected is a tater of debate. A hot year is normally associated with a boom year, offering a high yield of quality grapes for growers (1 ). However too much of a good thing can be bad. By the end of the century the increased temperature could have adverse effects on grape production and already growers in California see challenges in balancing the long growing season with the quality of the fruit being produced (3).
Initial studies on the effects of increased temperatures have shown that warming improves the quality of the wine, said Gregory Jones, an Associate Professor of Geography at the American university of Southern Oregon (4). He went on to predict that if something is not done, continued warming would change the growing environment in the future. The result of this increased temperature may leave growers finding, what once was good for the grape could be disastrous. By examining past heat waves, such as the one that hit Europe in 2003, vintner are given some idea of what is in store for the future (4).
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Areas that were normally cooler saw an improvement in grape production while the normally warm regions saw a decline in production and quality (5). Areas most in danger by the warming limited are those that currently enjoy a long, warm growing season, such as the Nap Valley (5). According to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) (4), if nothing is done about global warming only the coastal regions Of California, cooled by the ocean breeze, will be good for cultivating vines by 2100.
In a study done by University of California at Santa Cruz researcher (5), a detailed image of how the climate in California is likely to change over the next 50 to 100 years was predicted and mapped. Their study included anticipated temperature and precipitation changes for the Tate of the California. Their results go beyond the usual speculation concerning the potential effects of climate change on the state.
They were able to take expected temperature changes from increased atmospheric carbon dioxide and, with the aid of a computer program, predict environmental changes throughout the state of California (appendix 1 The United Nations has studied this issue and have predicted that without an aggressive world wide action to cut greenhouse emissions the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will reach 800 parts per million (4) before the end f this century. The result will be an increased average temperature in California by 3 degrees centigrade.
With much worse damage around the world through disease, drought and rising sea level. At that level of environmental change, the areas used for growing quality wine grapes will shrink by 35-80%, even taking into account the possibility of new areas being able to grow the grapes (4). A study by NASA (4) show, that areas the areas currently producing the finest most expensive wine would be reduced by approximately half while areas that are considered marginally suitable for reducing wine would be virtually eliminated.
Scientists predict that climate change may shift production of the best wines from places like Nap Valley to vineyards in the Pacific Northwest and New England, locations that have traditionally been considered too cool for wine production (3). This would not only be devastating economically to the wine industry in Nap but also to the billion dollar tourist industry associated with grape growing and wine production in the Nap Valley. Not everyone agrees that global warming will be bad for wine production in Nap Valley.
Some scientist predict that the warmer temperatures in the upper Nap Valley may shift south a little, not necessarily meaning hotter hoots, but making a bigger percentage of the valley warmer (2). In this climate model mountaintops will either stay the same or cool slightly due to increased fog. It may be that the state of California overall will be warmer by about 5 degrees Fahrenheit by 2055 to 2075, with 1 5 more days of temperatures over 90 degrees, but with marine influence and the predicted increase in fog, the California model won’t necessarily be the Nap Valley reality (2).
Dry. Snyder, from the university of California at Davis, summarized the results of a study on Nap Valley weather patterns between 191 7 and 2006 and came to the conclusion that from a grower’s standpoint, the weather has actually improved (6). It shows an increase in the average low temperatures for January and also an increase in average high temperatures at harvest time.
But the study shows less risk of extreme rainfall or extreme high or low temperatures today than we had prior to 1 988 (6) The Intergovernmental panel on Climate Change, an international group Of undress of climatologists, has concluded that, even though crop production and yield benefit from increased CO concentration, the benefit realized will be short lived and the increased heat and eventual drought will be devastating to the wine and grape industries (4) My original hypothesis is correct and incorrect. In the short term global warming may be helpful to the wine industry of the Nap Valley.
The increased temperature will have multiple outcomes; warmer weather will initially increase both quality and quantity of the grapes grown in the region. The improved weather patterns ill also be a boost to the tourist industry in the area. However, as the research shows that the long term outlook for the California wine industry may be devastating if the industry does not look to long term solutions. Facing this challenge, scientists and professionals from the wine industry are searching for ways to adapt to the changing climate.
Some areas of scientific work are concentrating on how certain varieties of vines adapt to heat as well as counteracting the devastating effects of strong heat on the taste of the wine, which tends to be too sweet and to have excessive alcohol levels. Other areas of change being looked into are ways to grow grapes under trellis so that they are protected from the sun as well as the types of grapes being grown. Other possibilities are genetic altering as well as cross breeding Of vines between high quality producers and heat tolerate varieties.
Water conservation is a huge issue when the climate heats up and increased irrigation is required. The final outcome of global warming on Nap Valley wine is unclear so if you enjoy a taste from the vine from time to time, now would be a good time to stock your wine cellar and enjoy it while you can. L[pick] I I [pick I [pick Appendix 1 "expected changes in temperature, top photo; precipitation, middle photo; and snow accumulation, bottom photo, for California based on computer projections of the climate response to increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide.
Average June temperatures are higher throughout the state. Total rainfall in March increases in northern California, with little change in the south. And the height of the snowplow at the end of March drops dramatically. Top photo; precipitation, middle photo; and snow accumulation, bottom photo, for California based on computer projections of the climate response to increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide. Average June temperatures are higher throughout the state. Total rainfall in March increases in northern California, with little change in the south.