Friday, March 1, 2024

The change that has come to the field

Since 2007, Galicia has been investigating the evidence and effects of climate change in our territory through the CLIGAL project, sponsored by the Department of the Environment.with the participation of more than a hundred researchers from three universities, based on what is already happening and what may happen as this century progresses, looking to a horizon beyond 2050. This study confirms the trend towards a climate where the temperature increases significantly in spring and summer, with a large number of days where the maximum temperature reaches extreme values ​​and a lower number of days with extreme values ​​in the coldest range, fewer cold days, less snowfall, an increase in the number of warm days and also nights, which already affects the crops, in some cases for the better, in others for the worse, and it is expected that throughout this century we will notice an increase in the temperature of the water, not only in the sea, but also in the rivers .

One of the territories most affected by the already noticeable effects of climate change is A Limia, the granary and orchard of Galicia, where the largest cultivated area of ​​cereals and potatoes in the entire autonomous community is located .. “The traditional differentiation of the year into four well-defined seasons is blurred,” explained Servando Álvarez, technical director of the Centro de Desarrollo Agrogandeiro do Inorde. “Before we had a rainy winter, with mild temperatures with cold days, spring brings rain, which is more distributed throughout the year and in summer, the dry season more or less stable, although there is some rain, temperatures around thirty degrees and a mild autumn with widespread rains, so that the soil has time to flow. Now we see a more turbulent season, with prolonged rains, extreme temperatures in summer, even in spring, and that in a region like A Limia with crops such as cereal and potatoes, causes serious problems. In fact, This year almost no cereal was planted in the winter and we will wait to plant the cereal in the spring, but if the pattern of high temperatures is repeated in May and June, there will be no production, and something similar will happen with potatoes.. Untimely rains cause waterlogging problems, pests like mold, etc.

The untimely continuous rains also causing problems for another major product in the province of Ourense: the chestnut. “The extreme temperatures of July and August impede the growth of the fruit,” explains Servando Álvarez, “and if we add to this the rains of October that cause the increase of diseases, we find ourselves one of the worst this is history.” .

“We have already lost the war against climate change,” said Servando Álvarez. “It’s here and what we need to do is to take steps that will reduce the effects of climate change on different crops. And that includes choosing varieties that can withstand the effects of situations like of extreme heat, drought and untimely rains in the case of potatoes and other garden products, and even to find the opportunity for varieties that before they could not be cultivated and now they can. There are many researchers working on it, and it is also an opportunity to recover the transformation of agriculture, which is a return to the origin of agriculture based on traditional crops, but with a high technological load, this is one of the solutions that suggested. .”

Servando Álvarez recognizes that in some aspects these paradigm changes are necessary. “We need to improve varietal selection, find those that best adapt to new conditions, because there is a long tradition of research on this matter, and managing water consumption in a more efficient way. I know it sounds strange to talk about rational water use now with a series of storms since October, but future water availability remains unknown.

The scarcity or abundance of water continues to be one of the aspects that still has a lot of doubt, as far as Galicia is concerned, although the models managed by the experts of the CLIGAL project mention the increase in periods as a factor with a high possibility of heavy rain in autumn and a decrease in the amount of rain in spring, with a decrease in average annual rain and an increase in average temperature due to the strengthening of anticyclonic conditions.

It also affects the yield

The field of viticulture is another area that is most affected by the effects of climate change.. Servando Álvarez acknowledges that this is not a new phenomenon: “A few decades ago we fought to ensure that our wines reach the alcoholic strength, because the climatic conditions do not always ensure adequate maturation. Today the opposite happens, flowering is brought forward and so is ripening and harvests must be brought forward to avoid over-ripening.”

Pablo Vidal is a winemaker with twenty-five years of experience. He has been in charge of the project for seven years.Wines with personality” that led him to cultivate and make wine in four Ourense appellations of origin.. For him there is no doubt that the impact of climate change has already been felt in the world of wine in Galicia. “Everything comes more advanced, as a result of the increase in average temperature. This influences all plant processes, from germination to ripening and the cycle is shortened in almost all varieties because of thermal integrity and good water availability.”

Extreme temperatures accelerate ripening, contrary to popular belief. “At a certain temperature, the vine is paralyzed as a measure of defense against the temperature and does not mature. The biggest problem occurs in the form of many nights of high temperature for what is the interior zone. The tropical nights. These nights of high temperature accelerate maturation, but create a loss of acidity, and with it the freshness of the wines, and if it is very exaggerated, they can lead to an aromatic loss. That being said, today it is easier to make wines than twenty-five years ago because before you had many years where it was very difficult to achieve good maturation and now it is easy only.

To minimize the negative aspects derived from high temperatures, Pablo Vidal suggests “increasing the level of planting, so that the temperature drops, which helps to preserve the freshness of the wines and find less hot orientations in the new vineyards.”, facing East and North, which also reduces the thermal integral. In this sense, today we see areas that have not been cultivated before and now, and the varieties that were not so ripe before and now are better. It happened in long cycles like treixadura, loureira, sousón, los caíños, which are now working better.

In this new scenario, Pablo Vidal is a clear multivarietal wine, as in the case of ribeiros. they will benefit: “Single varietals are a trend imported from other geographical areas that lack the wine culture present in Spain, which simplifies things, talking about a variety instead of a geographical area and all the many varieties that affect the wine”.

The start of harvest in August was an exception a decade ago. Today it is normal in Valdeorras and Monterrei and has started to appear in Ribeiro and Ribeira Sacra. The CLIGAL report predicts that by the end of this century, ripening will be brought forward by another 45 days and that it is normal to harvest almost everything in August.

World Nation News Desk
World Nation News Desk
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