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Assessing the impact of projected climate change on the future of grape growth and wine production in the Niagara Peninsula (Canada)

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The impacts of projected climate change on several key climatic indicators for grape growth and wine production are assessed for the Niagara Peninsula (Canada). Global Climate Model outputs are evaluated and ranked for the study region to create selective ensembles of seasonal climate change projections. Statistical downscaling is performed to create local, daily, climate change scenarios. Average growing season temperature and the number of growing degree days have been increasing over time (1981–2010) and are projected to increase further under climate change (2011–2100). There were trends in total accumulated growing season precipitation or in the number of days with total precipitation greater than 10 mm, but slight increases were still projected under climate change. Minimum winter temperatures were warming over time and the number of days with temperatures below −20°C were decreasing, with both these trends projected to continue. There were no statistically significant trends associated with maximum summer temperatures or the number of days with temperatures above 30°C, but both were projected to increase considerably in the future. A warmer, wetter climate in the region is expected to lengthen growing seasons, increase growth potential, diminish risk of winter freeze damage, while increasing summer heat stress.
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Keywords: Wine grapes; climate change impacts; climate risks; climatic suitability; freeze damage; heat stress; selective ensembles; statistical downscaling

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Physical and Environmental Sciences, University of Toronto Scarborough, Toronto, ON, Canada

Publication date: January 2, 2020

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