Impact of climate variability and change on grape yield in Italy

Viticulture is entangled with weather and climate. Therefore, areas currently suitable for grape production can be challenged by climate change. Winegrowers in Italy already experiences the effect of climate change, especially in the form of warmer growing season, more frequent drought periods, and increased frequency of weather extremes.
The aim of this study is to investigate the impact of climate variability and change on grape yield in Italy to provide winegrowers the information needed to make their business more sustainable and resilient to climate change. We computed a specific range of bioclimatic indices, selected by the International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV), and correlated them to grape yield data. We have worked in collaboration with some wine consortiums in northern and central Italy, which provided grape yield data for our analysis. 
Using climate variables from the E-OBS dataset we investigate how the bioclimatic indices changed in the past, and the impact of this change on grape productivity in the study areas. The climate impact on productivity is also investigated by using high-resolution convection-permitting models (CPMs – 2.2 horizontal resolution), with the purpose of estimating productivity in future emission scenarios. The CPMs are likely the best available option for this kind of impact studies since they allow a better representation of small-scale processes and features, explicitly resolve deep convection, and show an improved representation of extremes. In our study, we also compare CPMs with regional climate models (RCMs – 12 km horizontal resolution) to assess the added value of high-resolution models for impact studies. Further development of our study will lead to assessing the future suitability for vine cultivation and could lead to the construction of a statistical model for future projection of grape yield.

Authors: Laura T. Massano, Giorgia Fosser and Marco Gaetani

IUSS, University School for Advanced Studies, Pavia, Italy


Keywords : bioclimatic indices, convection-permitting model, E-OBS, wine consortium

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