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Impacts of Global Warming on Southern California's Winegrape Climate Suitability
  • Corrie Monteverde
Corrie Monteverde
San Diego State University

Corresponding Author:cmonteverde@sdsu.edu

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Southern California has seen a resurgence of winegrowing regions in the past few decades, however the future of winegrape climatic suitability in the area has not been exhaustively explored. This study evaluated the future climate suitability for the cultivation of winegrape and potential global warming impacts on southern California’s winegrowing regions through a series of high-resolution surface air temperature and precipitation projections obtained with the WRF-SSIB regional climate model. Results reveal that by mid-21st-century the surface air temperature will increase by approximately 1.2 °C, while average precipitation will decrease by as much as 11% in the southern winegrowing areas under the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change high greenhouse-gas emissions scenario. Evaluation of bioclimatic suitability indices indicate increases in heat accumulation for all major winegrowing areas; including an increase of about 10% in growing-degree day, while morning low temperatures in September may experience increases of approximately 11% in the future, thus impacting negatively the ripening stage of grapevines and leading to changes in wine composition and quality. Additionally, the extent of areas classified under the cool to warm climate suitability categories could decrease by nearly 42% in the study area by 2050. Conditions in southern California are already warm and dry for viticulture and continuing heat accumulation increase, along with rainfall reduction, could potentially place additional stress to winegrape crop in the area, including advanced phenological timing and moisture deficit stress that could lead to decreases in yield. The projected decline in viticulture suitability highlights the need for adaptive capacity within this sector to mitigate the impacts of global warming. Possible mitigating strategies include planting hotter climate grape varieties, moving vineyards to regions that are more suitable in the future, and adopting dry-farming techniques.
Sep 2020Published in Advances in Climate Change Research volume 11 issue 3 on pages 279-293. 10.1016/j.accre.2020.08.002