Climate change scenarios applied to viticultural zoning in Europe
Malheiro, A. C., Santos, J. A., Fraga, H. and Pinto, J. G. (2010) Climate change scenarios applied to viticultural zoning in Europe. Climate Research, 43 (3). pp. 163-177. ISSN 0936-577X
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To link to this article DOI: 10.3354/cr00918
Climate is one of the main factors controlling winegrape production. Bioclimatic indices describing the suitability of a particular region for wine production are a widely used zoning tool. Seven suitable bioclimatic indices characterize regions in Europe with different viticultural suitability, and their possible geographical shifts under future climate conditions are addressed using regional climate model simulations. The indices are calculated from climatic variables (daily values of temperature and precipitation) obtained from transient ensemble simulations with the regional model COSMO-CLM. Index maps for recent decades (1960–2000) and for the 21st century (following the IPCC-SRES B1 and A1B scenarios) are compared. Results show that climate change is projected to have a significant effect on European viticultural geography. Detrimental impacts on winegrowing are predicted in southern Europe, mainly due to increased dryness and cumulative thermal effects during the growing season. These changes represent an important constraint to grapevine growth and development, making adaptation strategies crucial, such as changing varieties or introducing water supply by irrigation. Conversely, in western and central Europe, projected future changes will benefit not only wine quality, but might also demarcate new potential areas for viticulture, despite some likely threats associated with diseases. Regardless of the inherent uncertainties, this approach provides valuable information for implementing proper and diverse adaptation measures in different European regions.