Climate change seems inevitable, but to what degree is a question scientists constantly explore. Even the smallest variations in climate can have a big impact on how we operate – from big initiatives like energy consumption to small niches like the wine industry.
Stanford University climate scientist Noah Diffenbaugh recently worked with a group to analyze this very topic. Diffenbaugh spent two years using what he referred to as, “the most detailed climate model experiment that exists for the continental United States,” to study the impact of predicted climate change on select wine regions of the northwest. His group published their findings in the June 30 issue of Environmental Research Letters. The study assumes a moderate climate change of 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit between now and 2040. Under that assumption, Northern California wine areas in the study could see land suitable for premium wine growth shrink by 50 percent during that time.
Diffenbaugh joined host Adam Rogers to discuss this study with the same level of scrutiny. They explore the study’s findings, its accuracy and the varying reactions to it. Pour a tall glass of cabernet sauvignon and settle in. Consider this a pseudo science lesson on something you actually care about.
To help, here’s a quick reference guide for this week’s podcast:
Diffenbaugh’s 2011 article, “Climate adaptation wedges: a case study of premium wine in the western United States”
The Napa Valley Vinters’ official response to the study
Heartland.org document referring to Diffenbaugh as a, “warming alarmist”
Terms and phrases:
Upscaling – using local data to reconstruct large scale climate patterns
Spatial Heterogeneity – uneven distribution of environmental characteristics within an area (a.k.a. “microclimates” to locals
Adaptation – action that can be taken to optimize for a different climate
Mitigation – action taken to reduce potential effects of global warming