Climate Changes and Wine Production

João Fonseca, Portugal, 14 years old

The Douro Demarcated Region is suffering climate change’s impacts with serious consequences for the region’s economy.

Earth’s termical balance is being compromised due to the acumulation of high concentration of green house effect gases which hold the earthly radiation in the lower layers of the trosposfere, increasing the average temperature of the earth.

This bigger in the polar regions and i tis predicated that until the ende of the century, it might rise around two degree celsius.

These climate changes have serious impacts, one of the more evident is the increase of the ocorrence of extreme climate events, for exemple, cold and heat waves, droughts, wild fires and of extreme hidrological events such as heavy precipitation in very short periods of time, which causes floods and landslides.

This situation is particular concerning for Portugal because several studies indicate that our country is one of those which presents a greater potential of vulnerability due to climate change and that the inland regions will be highly affect, especially during summer.

Climate data reveal that in the Demarcated Region of Douro, the period between 1950 to 2000 was in average 0,9 degree celsius warmer in comparison with the period between 1931 and 1960. For exemple, in the city of Peso da Régua the average temperatures have risen 1,2 to 1,3 degree celsius between 1967 and 2010. The biggest growth is more visible at the main sections of the river basin. The increase of temperature might lead to the forthcoming of new pests and diseases, plus some defend that their will be a need to move vineculture futher north or to places with a greater altitude, where the temperature is lower.

Demarcated Region of Douro.

In this region it is estimated a reduction of precipition between 10% to 42% until 2080. The change of precipiation patterns, contributes to a reduction of agricultural income as well as it potentialize erosion and the ocurrence of flooding due to an higher concentration of precipitation in short periods of time.

An area very influenced by these changes is agricuture, and specially, wine produciton. The Demarcated Region of Douro is already being afected by this problem which leads to the reduciton of production and the modification of landscape. The income per acre in this region was lowered about twenty per cent, in the last fifteen years. It is not just the amount of production that is afected but also its quality, which is equaly concerning.

There is not a unanimous opinion regarding the way on how to mitigate this probelm. Several alternatives are presented, from relocation of cultures, the choice of grape varieties more suited to the new precipitation and temperature patterns, even the application of whitewash, which could work as a sunscreen by reducing the plant’s temperature around one degree celsius.

To conclude, global warming is a phenomenon that not only afects the environment, as well as the economy, since it has impacts in agricluture and tourism. It has to be minimized, otherwise the whole world will be deeply afected, not only economically but also the health of the population. This issue needs to be fought with some measures such as the use of renewable energies, public transportation, saving water mainly through agricultural and winemaking practices which use water in the most way efficient way, among others which the entire population can adopt.

Click to access PAIAC_DOURO_RESUMO_V01.pdf

Click to access 13790697133655.pdf

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