Extreme weather events: Greg Jones, Dr. Richard Hamilton, Phil Freese, Alisdair Tulloch and João Santos

Extreme Weather Events: Response From The Vineyards

A changing climate leads to changes in the frequency, intensity, spatial extent, duration and timing of extreme weather and climate events (EWE). These are the words of the IPCC. Per se, these EWE do not prove the existence of global warming, but it is a given fact that climate change exaggerates them.

Reality, as we speak, is a reflection of this and of the current climate crisis: a few years ago, South Africa faced a period of severe water shortage in the Western Cape region. In 2017, the exact place where the Douro River is born, Picos de Urbíon, dried up. This year, in Germany, ice wine harvest failed for the first time due to a warm winter. A year ago, Australia was on fire, with an unrepairable and unprecedented loss for its ecosystems, let alone lives and businesses. As we speak, California, Oregon and Washington are being devastated by wildfires that preceded record heatwaves, followed by storms that ignited the fires. In Maryland, tornados were followed by hurricanes and then frost. Again, countless producers are still unsure about whether they will be able to save their harvest from smoke taint, and many have lost their vintage altogether.

Why? What are the causes? What are the impacts? How can we prepare our vineyards, our operation, ourselves, reduce the impacts and minimize the losses?

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