No More Whining About Global Warming
Global Warming Could Devastate State's Wine Country - SFChronicle
A new study out today could give Americans another reason to worry about global warming: Apart from the rising seas and disappearing polar bears, climate change could also wipe out premium wine grape growing in Napa, Sonoma and Santa Barbara by the end of the century, according to scientists.
An increase in the number of hot days during the growing seasons would make California's richest wine-producing regions unsuitable for the finest grapes under a scenario published today in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
...Despite cautionary comments from other scientists, the prediction of the loss of good growing lands for the state's wine industry, valued at $2.9 billion a year, brings home the power and influence of climate in farm production, the study authors say.
"One big lesson is that the daily temperature changes are very important'' and not just the change in average temperatures, said Noah Diffenbaugh, assistant professor of earth and atmospheric sciences at Purdue University and a study author.
....The paper concludes that production in the Napa and Sonoma valleys and Santa Barbara would essentially be eliminated in the future climate. The only areas in California that would remain highly suitable are the narrow coastal bands and in the Sierra Nevada, it says.
The United States would lose up to 81 percent of its premium wine grape growing acreage by 2100 with the greatest losses on the West Coast and the Southwest, the study says.
The researchers, including from Utah State and Southern Oregon universities, picked premium vineyards to study because of centuries of records on the relationship of climate and wine grapes.
"We know that climate change has affected wine production in the past,'' said Diffenbaugh. "If you go back to the medieval warm period, there were vineyards in south England. Then the Little Ice Age that began in the mid-16th Century eliminated those vineyards.''