Climate change and crop exposure to adverse weather: changes to frost risk and grapevine flowering conditions
Public Library of Science (PLOS)
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The cultivation of grapevines in the UK and many other cool climate regions is expected to benefit from the higher growing season temperatures predicted under future climate scenarios. Yet the effects of climate change on the risk of adverse weather conditions or events at key stages of crop development are not always captured by aggregated measures of seasonal or yearly climates, or by downscaling techniques that assume climate variability will remain unchanged under future scenarios. Using fine resolution projections of future climate scenarios for south-west England and grapevine phenology models we explore how risks to cool-climate vineyard harvests vary under future climate conditions. Results indicate that the risk of adverse conditions during flowering declines under all future climate scenarios. In contrast, the risk of late spring frosts increases under many future climate projections due to advancement in the timing of budbreak. Estimates of frost risk, however, were highly sensitive to the choice of phenology model, and future frost exposure declined when budbreak was calculated using models that included a winter chill requirement for dormancy break. The lack of robust phenological models is a major source of uncertainty concerning the impacts of future climate change on the development of cool-climate viticulture in historically marginal climatic regions.
European Social Fund
Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)
Open Access Article
© 2015 Mosedale et al.
PLoS ONE 10(10): e0141218. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0141218