Climate change projections to support the transition to climate-smart viticulture

The Earth’s system is undergoing major changes through a wide range of spatial and temporal scales as a response to growing anthropogenic radiative forcing, which is pushing the whole system far beyond its natural variability. Sources of greenhouse gases largely exceed their sinks, thus leading to a strengthened greenhouse effect. More energy is thereby being supplied to the system, with inevitable shifts in climatic patterns and weather regimes. Over the last decades, these modifications have been manifested in the full statistical distributions of the atmospheric variables, with dramatic changes in the frequency and intensity of extremes. Natural hazards, such as severe droughts, floods, forest fires, or heatwaves, are being triggered by extreme atmospheric events worldwide, thus threatening human activities. Viticultculture is not only exposed to changing climates but is also highly vulnerable, as grapevine phenology and physiological development are strongly controlled by atmospheric conditions. Therefore, the assessment of climate change projections for a given region is critical for climate change adaptation and risk reduction in viticulture. By adopting timely and suitable measures, the future sustainability and resiliency of the sector can be fostered. Climate-grapevine chain modelling is an essential tool for better planning and management. However, the accuracy of the resulting projections is limited by many uncertainties that must be duly taken into account when transferring knowledge to stakeholders and decision-makers. Climate-smart viticulture will comprise ensembles of locally tuned strategies, envisioning both adaptation and mitigation, assisted by emerging technologies and decision-support systems.

Author: João A. Santos1,2

1Centre for the Research and Technology of Agroenvironmental and Biological Sciences, CITAB, Universidade de Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro, UTAD, Vila Real, Portugal
2Physics Department, Universidade de Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro, UTAD, Vila Real, Portugal

Email: jsantos@utad.pt

Keywords: climate change, projections, adaptation, risk reduction, viticulture

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