UTAS project forecasts century of climate change impact on country's vineyards

UTAS project helping Australian vineyards predict climate changes

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Tasmanian research is aiming to help wine producers weather a changing climate.

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A CLIMATE atlas has been developed by the University of Tasmania aimed at helping vineyards nationwide weather the impacts of climate change on the industry across the next century.

The atlas was developed by UTAS' Climate Futures Group and funded by Wine Australia.

It will analyse and project climate trends from now until the year 2100.

Australia's wine future: A Climate Atlas growing season temperature (current period). Picture: University of Tasmania

Australia's wine future: A Climate Atlas growing season temperature (current period). Picture: University of Tasmania

UTAS climatology expert and Climate Futures Group lead Dr Rebecca Harris said the project will provide an accessible tool for wine producers.

"The aim was to improve understanding of climate information and to empower communities to plan for the coming season and the future," Dr Harris said.

"The project identified weather risks that are particularly important to grape-growing within different wine regions and assessed future changes in their frequency and intensity based on regional climate models that incorporate the large-scale climate drivers that drive drought and extreme heat.

"The Australian wine sector is highly innovative, and grape growers have a series of tools at their disposal to manage climate variability.

"The atlas will assist in providing information about the likelihood of weather and climate risks in coming seasons so that growers can better plan their management to reduce costs."

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Wine Tasmania chief executive, Sheralee Davies, said the more data vineyards can gather, the better prepared they can be prepared for climate changes.

"Of course we know that we are in a changing climate and the more information our vineyard owners and operators can have, the better they can prepare themselves," she said.

Ms Davies said vineyards are particularly susceptible to even the smallest changes to climate, making the climate atlas "quite significant."

"We know from modelling that we've seen that Tasmania is in a situation where we're that little bit cooler and south so the impacts on us and our wine sector are perhaps not as significant as other parts of the country," she said.

"The data gives us the information to be help us prepare and plan and manage change, but also at its heart it indicates a huge amount of potential for Tasmania and growing grapes over that timeframe and beyond."

The story UTAS project forecasts century of climate change impact on country's vineyards first appeared on The Examiner.

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