CR 51:89-103 (2012)  -  DOI:

Macroclimate and viticultural zoning in Europe: observed trends and atmospheric forcing

João A. Santos1,*, Aureliano C. Malheiro1, Joaquim G. Pinto2, Gregory V. Jones3

1Centre for Research and Technology of Agro-Environment and Biological Sciences (CITAB), University of Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro, PO Box 1013, 5001-801 Vila Real, Portugal
2Institute for Geophysics and Meteorology, University of Cologne, Kerpener Str. 13, 50923 Cologne, Germany
3Department of Environmental Studies, Southern Oregon University, 1250 Siskiyou Boulevard, Ashland, Oregon 97520, USA

ABSTRACT: Temperature and precipitation are major forcing factors influencing grapevine phenology and yield, as well as wine quality. Bioclimatic indices describing the suitability of a particular region for wine production are a commonly used tool for viticultural zoning. For this research these indices were computed for Europe by using the E-OBS gridded daily temperature and precipitation data set for the period from 1950 to 2009. Results showed strong regional contrasts based on the different index patterns and reproduced the wide diversity of local conditions that largely explain the quality and diversity of grapevines being grown across Europe. Owing to the strong inter-annual variability in the indices, a trend analysis and a principal component analysis were applied together with an assessment of their mean patterns. Significant trends were identified in the Winkler and Huglin indices, particularly for southwestern Europe. Four statistically significant orthogonal modes of variability were isolated for the Huglin index (HI), jointly representing 82% of the total variance in Europe. The leading mode was largely dominant (48% of variance) and mainly reflected the observed historical long-term changes. The other 3 modes corresponded to regional dipoles within Europe. Despite the relevance of local and regional climatic characteristics to grapevines, it was demonstrated via canonical correlation analysis that the observed inter-annual variability of the HI was strongly controlled by the large-scale atmospheric circulation during the growing season (April to September).

KEY WORDS: Viticultural zoning · Europe · Huglin Index · Winkler Index · Historical trends · Variability · Atmospheric forcing · E-OBS

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Cite this article as: Santos JA, Malheiro AC, Pinto JG, Jones GV (2012) Macroclimate and viticultural zoning in Europe: observed trends and atmospheric forcing. Clim Res 51:89-103.

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