Thursday January 18, 2018

Climate change: Positive impact on rice, tea in Northeast

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Kolkata: A scientist claimed that climate change was going to “positively” impact rice and tea crops in the Northeast.

According to Chandan Mahanta of the IIT-Guwahati, a modelling study carried out by the institute showed in the next 15 years (till 2030), rice and tea can actually have an advantage from climate change.

“Climate change is going to positively impact rice and tea in at least coming 15 years in the northeast. We have modelled that,” Mahanta said here at the South Asia Water Dialogue, adding that scientists looked at climate data, such as temperature, humidity and precipitation in the region to study the changes on the two important crops.

Explaining the variation, he said: “Sometimes it’s not just the temperature alone but also the rate of change of temperature or the rate of change of precipitation so it is not always very simple to say.”

In addition, the difference in growing times also has an influence.

“Tea is grown at three different times. Even rice is grown at different times. Maybe one particular rice variety may be less affected, others may be more affected,” said Mahanta, a professor of the department of civil engineering.

The Dialogue was organised by Observer Research Foundation in collaboration with the German Embassy.According to Chandan Mahanta of the IIT-Guwahati, a modelling study carried out by the institute showed in the next 15 years (till 2030), rice and tea can actually have an advantage from climate change.

“Climate change is going to positively impact rice and tea in at least coming 15 years in the northeast. We have modelled that,” Mahanta said here at the South Asia Water Dialogue, adding that scientists looked at climate data, such as temperature, humidity and precipitation in the region to study the changes on the two important crops.

Explaining the variation, he said: “Sometimes it’s not just the temperature alone but also the rate of change of temperature or the rate of change of precipitation so it is not always very simple to say.”

In addition, the difference in growing times also has an influence.

“Tea is grown at three different times. Even rice is grown at different times. Maybe one particular rice variety may be less affected, others may be more affected,” said Mahanta, a professor of the department of civil engineering.

The Dialogue was organised by Observer Research Foundation in collaboration with the German Embassy. (IANS) 

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Climate change can have an effect on the taste of the wines

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Climate change can have an effect on the taste of the wine
Climate change can have an effect on the taste of the wine. wikimedia commons

New York, Jan 3, 2018: Although winegrowers seem reluctant to try new grape varieties apparently to protect the taste of the wines, new research suggests that they will ultimately have to give up on their old habit as planting lesser-known grape varieties might help vineyards to counteract some of the effects of climate change.

vineyards. wikimedia commons

“It’s going to be very hard, given the amount of warming we’ve already committed to… for many regions to continue growing the exact varieties they’ve grown in the past,” said study co-author Elizabeth Wolkovich, Assistant Professor at Harvard University.

“With continued climate change, certain varieties in certain regions will start to fail — that’s my expectation,” she said.

The study, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, suggests that wine producers now face a choice — proactively experiment with new varieties, or risk suffering the negative consequences of climate change.

“The Old World has a huge diversity of wine grapes — there are overplanted 1,000 varieties — and some of them are better adapted to hotter climates and have higher drought tolerance than the 12 varieties now making up over 80 per cent of the wine market in many countries,” Wolkovich said.

“We should be studying and exploring these varieties to prepare for climate change,” she added.

Unfortunately, Wolkovich said, convincing wine producers to try different grape varieties is difficult at best, and the reason often comes down to the current concept of terroir.

Terroir is the notion that a wine’s flavour is a reflection of where which and how the grapes were grown.

Thus, as currently understood, only certain traditional or existing varieties are part of each terroir, leaving little room for change.

The industry — both in the traditional winegrowing centres of Europe and around the world — faces hurdles when it comes to making changes, Wolkovich said.

In Europe, she said, growers have the advantage of tremendous diversity.

They have more than 1,000 grape varieties to choose from. Yet strict labelling laws have created restrictions on their ability to take advantage of this diversity.

For example, just three varieties of grapes can be labelled as Champagne or four for Burgundy.

Similar restrictions have been enacted in many European regions – all of which force growers to focus on a small handful of grape varieties.

“The more you are locked into what you have to grow, the less room you have to adapt to climate change,” Wolkovich said.

New World winegrowers, meanwhile, must grapple with the opposite problem — while there are few, if any, restrictions on which grape varieties may be grown in a given region, growers have little experience with the diverse — and potentially more climate change adaptable — varieties of grapes found in Europe, the study said.

Just 12 varieties account for more than 80 per cent of the grapes grown in Australian vineyards, Wolkovich said.

More than 75 per cent of all the grapes grown in China is Cabernet Sauvignon — and the chief reason why has to do with consumers.

“They have all the freedom in the world to import new varieties and think about how to make great wines from a grape variety you’ve never heard of, but they’re not doing it because the consumer hasn’t heard of it,” Wolkovich said. (IANS)

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