Tuesday, July 11, 2006

A side effect of global warming

This might warm the cockles of the hearts of wine growers in France, Italy, Australia, New Zealand, Chile, and South Africa: Global warming may shrink vineyards in California. Researchers based their computer model on standard global warming scenarios which suggest that greenhouse gasses will continue to rise to more than twice their current levels by 2100. This would cause more excessively hot days, and the warm season would start earlier; and the cold days would be fewer.

Eventually, the computer simulation showed, the number of extremely hot days during the growing and ripening season would increase by three to eight weeks in much of the South central and Southwestern United States — too hot to produce premium wine grapes.

The number of cool days would also decline by more than three weeks in many regions of the country, opening up some areas for new grape production but also increasing the possibility of more rot, mildew and fungus infections in those areas.

They suggest that the growing season would start about three weeks earlier around the nation; the West Coast would have the most significant changes. Wine growing regions would shift to colder climates, and into higher elevations. Wine growing in the Southwest and Midwest would effectively disappear. New England and the Pacific Northwest would evolve into the premium regions in the US.

This is a call to arms," said Karen Ross, president of the California Assn. of Winegrape Growers, which represents 1,000 growers in the state. "We need to pay attention now. We ought to start thinking about what can be done now to impact the severity of what might happen."

Right. Polar bear habitats are shrinking, causing them to drown, or to cannibalize their own. Glaciers are disappearing at a shocking rate. The ice caps are melting, to the point where the ocean levels will eventually consume coastal areas globally. But the call to arms is a loss of wine growing areas. Priorities are an amazing thing.


betmo said...

half of the country doesn't even believe in global warming. you are lucky that something piques their interest.

Yoga Korunta said...

Which administration denies global warming?

anita said...

'call to arms' ... !! that's hilarious.

or just plain sadly narcissistic.

robin andrea said...

Self-interest is an amazing thing to behold. It's good some of us do think about the polar bears and the glaciers. Somehow cutting greenhouse gas emissions to save California's wine country doesn't have the kind of heart-tugging pull that a polar bear with no place to walk does.

DivaJood said...

betmo: not my half, that's for sure.

yoga: I dunno. Is that a trick question?

anita: yes, I loved the irony of it. Probably unintentional.

robin: I dunno. I can think of any number of people here in LA that would be sick at heart if they didn't have Napa. We've got chairs waiting for them in AA, but that's another story.

karena said...

As a wine lover myself, and not wanting to sit in a chair at AA instead of drinking my wine, I must say I was pretty disgusted by Karen Ross' "call to arms." There are a lot worse things then dead grape vines or dead polar bears for that matter. How about dead civilization?

DivaJood said...

karena, I feel ya about not wanting to visit AA. I'm happy there, but I exceeded my legal limit, and probably yours as well. But Karen Ross's "call to arms" was a bit over the top.