September 28th, 2011, Dr. Anthony Shaw, Brock University, honoured us with a knowledgeable presentation of Climate change.  He spoke about climate change versus global warming, and the difference between long term and short term climate changes.   Dr. Shaw  referred to the Medieval Warm period, when the Vikings arrived in Greenland around the year 1000 - 1200, as well as the Little Ice Age a few hundred years later.  Both of these were long term changes, created by solar forcing or lack thereof.

Although our earth has been gradually warming since the last ice age, about 10,000 years ago, what we are presently experiencing is a more rapid warming, globally.   Weather changes from year to year, therefore no vintage is ever the same.  Climate is calculated over 30 years, and in this region, warming has increased by  .6 Centigrade degrees .  Along with the increase in temperature, so has CO2 increased from 280ppm  to 385ppm since 1880.  Groving grapes depends very much on the amount of heat and the length of the growing season, more so, than on the actual soil.  We had a short warming spell in the 1930's and 1940's, but by the late 50's and into the 60's temperature was dropping.  With the local mean temperature at 8.5 C. degrees, we have seen the temperature rising .5 - .6 C. degrees since 1970.  This has extended the growing season, and made the adaption time shorter, and more dramatic locally.  In the Arctic, the temperature has increased by 10 C.degrees over the same period.  With the increase in the temperature, growers rely very much on finding the right kind of grapes to plant, as what they plant now, will depend on their harvest forty years from now. This of course is where Dr. Shaw's expertise comes in. 

Locally, the Wine Industry depends on cool climate grapes, tolerating -20 C. degrees.   Colder than that, frost damage occurs.  Fluctuations in temperature, are not good for the grapes, especially when they are coming out of dormancy.  For Canada, GW is  good - not so for Texas and Sub Sahara.  Water, carbon dioxide, methane gas and nitrous oxide are the main components of greenhouse gases, and in that order.  CO2 is not only contributed by burning of fossil fuels, but by warming oceans, volcanoes and arctic melts among others.  

Individually, we can't change things around, but with government legislations we can make a change.  It will be costly and create loss of jobs, so it is not an easy thing to change.  Programs have to be in place.

Dr. Shaw could have kept on talking endlessly, but time ran out, and some of our members had to go to  work.   I have received wonderful feed back about this presentation.  Thank you very much, Dr. Shaw.