Scientists believe that global temperature will still rise within the future. More than 10,000 scientists from IPCC predict the change of the earth’s temperature. They think it will rise by 2.5 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit over the next century. Global warming has brought various extreme climates.
Such climates include abnormal high temperatures, droughts, and heavy rains. A large number of studies have shown the fruits are being affected by these weathers. These conditions have changed the sugar, organic acids, flavonoid content, hardness, and antioxidant activity of the fruit. Also, climate change will affect the secondary metabolism of various fruits products, such as phenols, terpenes, fatty acids, and alkaloids. Besides, the climate is related to the reproduction of pests. Especially, the temperature has an important influence on the growth, reproduction, death, and genetic adaptation of insects. Higher temperatures in winter may cause the larvae to overwinter in cold regions. This would cause greater pest damage in the next crop season. Moreover, changing the wind pattern may also cause the spread of pests and fungi. The European Environment Agency (EFA) has released a related report. They predict the extreme weather will cause a 16% loss of European agricultural value.
The impact of weather changes on fruit quantity and quality
The changing climate is also expected to bring more and more extreme weather. Some areas like California are experiencing the worst drought in history. There are more floods in other areas than before. These changes make fruit trees suffer unusual growing seasons, pests, sun damage, etc.
The impact of climatic conditions on the composition of fruits
Because various crops have different adaptation abilities to the climate. Fruit trees are considered to be more susceptible to climate change. An institution in Japan (Institute of Fruit Tree and Tea Science, National Agriculture and Food Research Organization, conducted research) showed that the trend of global warming has an impact on all types of fruit trees. For example, problems include poor skin color, abnormal taste, and dead flower buds.
The impact of frost on fruits
In temperate climate regions, frost is also an important factor. During the flowering period, if the temperature drops to a few degrees below zero, it will damage the pistil and reduce fruit yield. Even mild frosts will affect the quality of the fruit.
The impact of climate on grapes and winemaking
Climate change is having a greater impact on the composition and yield of grapes. And will affect winemaking and the microbial and chemical composition of wine.
Influencing factors related to climate change include earlier harvest time and temperature. These will increase glucose concentration leading to an increased alcohol content of wine, decreased acidity, and improved varieties of aroma compounds.
Under the high temperatures in some areas, the metabolism of wine may be inhibited. The decrease in the accumulation of metabolites will affect the aroma and color of the wine. High sugar concentration can cause stress response of yeast and increase the formation of co-products such as acetic acid. At last, lead to major changes in the microbial and chemical composition of wine. And that also will increase the possibility of spoilage.
Nowadays, grape growers in northern Italy have found grapes sunburned more and more. The summer of 2019 was the hottest year in southern Australia since 1910. And white wine production fell by 8% , Chardonnay production fell by 12% to the lowest level in the past five years. Growers in Priorat, Spain, reported that the vines were devastated when the temperature soared to a record 107.6 degrees Fahrenheit, with dead leaves and dehydrated grapes.
The impact of climate on apples
For apples, higher temperatures in summer will cause the surface to be sunburned, resulting in peel defects. The University of Melbourne conducted a study that shows some fruit growing areas in Australia are no longer suitable for apple cultivation due to the warm winter temperatures.
The impact of climate on other fruits
Besides, for the farmers of sour cherries, blueberries, raspberries, and other crops, climate-related pests have also caused greater economic losses. Due to the warm winter, the pests appeared very early. For example, in 2010, the spotted wing drosophila appeared in Michigan and then spread quickly. They laid eggs in the cherry fruit, destroying the yield and quality of cherries.
How to deal with weather changes
How to make fruit production more adaptable to climate change can be divided into three methods:
Planting new varieties
Scientists now are trying to improve the fruit varieties to adapt to changes in the environment. This is a good method, but such effort would take us a very long time to achieve.
Transfer production area
Due to the continuous changes in weather in some areas, it may eventually lead to an unsuitable place for fruit planting. Transferring production areas may become an undesirable choice. But it will also cause greater economic burdens and difficulties for fruit farmers. Moreover, the transfer of tropical fruit cultivation to new areas is still controversial, and need more attempts.
Provide protective measures
It can also be called agricultural microclimate regulation. This is currently the easiest and most effective measures. Most of the adaptation methods belong to this direction. The methods include avoiding high temperatures and increase high-temperature tolerance (such as shade netting ), anti-frost ( anti frost netting ), anti-wind ( windbreak netting ), anti-bird ( anti bird netting ), and anti-insect ( anti insect netting ) measures.
These methods can provide a protective cover to the fruit to protect it from the destruction of various extreme climates. For example, in some apple-growing areas, such as Shepparton in Victoria and Young in NSW, the shade nettings have reduced the risk of apple sunburn by 50%. The use of insect netting for cherries, blueberries, and other crops is also considered to be effective in dealing with the damage caused by the spot-wing fruit fly.
Climate change is having a profound impact on our lives and growing methods. How to adapt it and overcome it has become a problem before us…
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