What’s up with the weather?

Copyright Wither Hills Wines

Copyright Wither Hills Wines

With more than 22 years of professional experience in meteorology, Chris Brandolino currently leads NIWA’s Forecasting Services team.

His team of scientists provide climate modelling and long-range climate outlooks to help businesses and industries make decisions.

Chris was one of the keynote speakers at the 2019 Sauvignon Blanc workshop, presenting on the potential impact of climate change on the wine industry. We’ve unpacked some of the highlights from the presentation below. The video of the full presentation, including detailed regional temperature projections, is available for members here.

What could climate change mean for the wine industry?

  • Changing harvest times and durations

  • Fewer frosts on average

  • Changing demand for water resources, with increased drought potential

  • Opportunities for new varieties

  • Potential expansion of vineyards into currently marginal areas

  • Increased risk from pests and diseases.

Average temperature projections: Heatwave seasonality

  • More extreme temperatures and heatwaves

  • Three or more consecutive days with maximum temperatures greater than 25°C

  • Increasing length of the heatwave season

  • More heatwave-days

  • Still significant variability from year to year

  • The scenario changes significantly, dependent on global climate change action and if there is a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

Average temperature projections: Frost seasonality

  • Shortening of frost season, with fewer extreme low temperatures

  • Fewer frost days

  • Less than half the present amount of frost days by 2090, if greenhouse gas emissions do not reduce

  • Still significant variability from year to year

  • The scenario will also change significantly, dependent on global climate change action.

Changes to rainfall

  • Rainfall intensity will increase across New Zealand

  • With more warming there will be a larger increase in rainfall

  • Ex-tropical cyclones will increase in intensity

  • A general decrease in spring rainfall is expected, with some increases in autumn rainfall.