Climate change, as heard through the grapevine
October 5, 2019 1:02 PM   Subscribe

600 Years of Grape Harvests Document 20th Century Climate Change: By mining archival records of grape harvest dates going back to 1354, scientists have reconstructed a 664-year record of temperature traced by fruit ripening. [...]“Hot and dry years in the past were outliers, while they have become the norm since the transition to rapid warming in 1988,” Labbé and his team wrote in their paper, which was published in August in Climate of the Past [direct open-access link to the journal article].
posted by mandolin conspiracy (10 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
This is a fascinating record. Similar to glacier ice core records or whatever, only through an entirely different sector of data and about an entirely different place on the planet.

Thanks for posting this. I'm wondering if there are other records that could be mined for this kind of sideways information.
posted by hippybear at 2:33 PM on October 5, 2019 [2 favorites]

At first, I was like who the heck is EOS, and then oooh it's associated with a group of professional peer reviewed journals. Well written article.

Some pretty meticulous statistical comparison in the paper.

I know viticulture is a little bit odd, genetically, because of the use of grafts - I'd be interested in whether and how much genetic drift there were in the grapes across the different varieties.

hippybear - the yearly loss to 'angel's share' when aging whiskey?
posted by porpoise at 2:44 PM on October 5, 2019 [2 favorites]

porpoise - that's a fascinating concept and is probably worth exploring.
posted by hippybear at 2:52 PM on October 5, 2019

Tamino on that.
posted by hank at 3:08 PM on October 5, 2019 [3 favorites]

I'm wondering if there are other records that could be mined for this kind of sideways information.
Is tree ring data sideways enough? The width of the rings reflects growing conditions, especially rainfall. Here is an article on the US southwest and central plains for the last 1000 years and one on the Tibetan plateau for 3500 years.
posted by Botanizer at 5:50 PM on October 5, 2019 [2 favorites]

This is a fascinating way to reverse-engineer temperature data. I have wine enthusiast friends who have talked a lot in recent years about many Australian farmers have been reluctant to acknowledge the data in front of them, chalking up consistent warming temperatures to historically cyclical patterns, but that it's the wine growers who have been more sensitive to these changes, and are already acting on it, such that a large number of winemakers from the wine producing states of South Australia, New South Wales, and Western Australia have been shifting production to cooler Tasmania.
posted by amusebuche at 5:54 PM on October 5, 2019

Here in Washington state we had a freak jet stream in the last days of September bring temperatures near freezing and snowfall earlier than basically ever this year and it's possible it stopped the wine grapes from ripening and the entire year's harvest in the WA wine industry may have been lost for 2019.
posted by hippybear at 7:06 PM on October 5, 2019 [1 favorite]

In Ontario where there's a huge ice wine industry, this sort of climate-change induced whipsawing is bad, not to mention the overall trend, because sustained temperatures below -8C are needed for the harvest, and some years those are coming later and later. The danger is they'll stop coming, period.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 7:31 PM on October 5, 2019

I'm wondering if there are other records that could be mined for this kind of sideways information.

Here's one about monks recording weather and temperatures for 700 years around Japan's Lake Suwa.

And one about transcribing ship's logs for weather information.
You can help!
posted by sneebler at 8:57 AM on October 7, 2019 [1 favorite]

They're called climate proxies, and there are a lot of them, ranging from ones you've heard of like glacial ice cores and tree rings to historical records of the last day of ice cover on a lake in Scandinavia for each year, or the day of the year that flowers of different species first bloomed in Concord, MA, or the price of grain in Dutch Kroner throughout Europe, to pollen layers in lake sediment, to isotopes in the skeletons of long dead plankton in marine sediments. Here's a description from NOAA and Here's the big IPCC summary.
posted by hydropsyche at 9:36 AM on October 7, 2019 [2 favorites]

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