Mechanisms involved in the heating of the environment by the aerodynamic action of a wind machine to protect a vineyard against spring frost

One of the main consequences of global warming is the rise of the mean temperature. Thus, the heat summation by the plants begins sooner in the early spring, and by cumulating growing degree-days, phenological development tends to happen earlier. However, spring frost is still a recurrent phenomenon causing serious damages to buds and therefore, threatening the harvests of the winegrowers. The wind machine is a solution to protect fruit crops against spring frost that is increasingly used. It is composed of a 10-m mast with a blowing fan at its peak. By tapping into the strength of the nocturnal thermal inversion, it sweeps the crop by propelling warm air above to the ground. Thus, stratification is momentarily suppressed. Furthermore, the continuous action of the machine, alone or in synergy, or the addition of a heater allow the bud to be bathed in a warmer environment. Also, the punctual action of the tower’s warm gust reaches the bud directly at each rotation period. All these actions allow the bud to continuously warm up, but with different intensities and over a different period. Although there is evidence of the effectiveness of the wind machines, the thermal transfers involved in those mechanisms raise questions about their true nature. Field measurements based on ultrasonic anemometers and fast responding thermocouples complemented by laboratory measurements on a reduced scale model allow to characterize both the airflow produced by the wind machine and the local temperature in its vicinity. Those experiments were realized in the vineyard of Quincy, in the framework of the SICTAG project. In the future paper, we will detail the aeraulic characterization of the wind machine and the thermal effects resulting from it and we will focus on how the wind machine warms up the local atmosphere and enables to reduce the freezing risk.

Authors: Clara Le Cap1,2,3, Johan Carlier2, Hervé Quénol3, Dominique Heitz2 and Emmanuel Buisson

1Weather Measures, Clermont-Ferrand, France
2INRAE, UR OPAALE, Rennes, France
3CNRS, UMR 6554 LETG, Université Rennes 2, Rennes, France

Email: clara.le-cap@inrae.fr

Keywords: spring frost, wind machine, thermal processes, vineyard, protection

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