Warmer weather, finer wines

first_imgA word of advice, oenophiles. Start stocking up now.In recent years, French vintners have produced a number of exceptional vintages, and Elizabeth Wolkovich, assistant professor of organismic and evolutionary biology, says that climate change is part of the reason why. As climate change continues to drive temperatures higher, however, that recent winning streak could soon come to an end.By examining more than 500 years of harvest records, Wolkovich and researchers from NASA found that wine grape harvests across France, on average, now occur two weeks earlier than in the past, largely because of climate change pushing temperatures higher without the aid of drought. While earlier harvests are normally associated with higher quality wines, researchers caution the trend likely won’t last forever. The study is described in a March 21 paper in Nature Climate Change.“There are two big points in this paper. The first is that harvest dates are getting much earlier, and all the evidence points to it being linked to climate change,” Wolkovich said. “Especially since 1980, when we see a major turning point for temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere, we see harvest dates across France getting earlier and earlier.“The bad news is that if we keep warming the globe, we will reach a tipping point,” she continued. “The trend, in general, is that earlier harvests lead to higher-quality wine, but you can connect the dots here … We have several data points that tell us there is a threshold we will probably cross in the future where higher temperatures will not produce higher quality.”“It’s become so warm thanks to climate change, grape growers don’t need drought to get these very warm temperatures,” said Benjamin Cook, the lead author and a climate scientist from Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies. “After 1980, the drought signal effectively disappears. That means there’s been a fundamental shift in the large-scale climate under which other, local factors operate.”As a measure of how close that threshold may be, Wolkovich pointed toward 2003.That summer, she said, the continent suffered through a massive heat wave marked by record temperatures that led to many deaths. Yet despite producing the earliest harvest in the study, the wines produced were of mixed quality.Importantly, Wolkovich noted, the study is not an examination of a single vineyard, or even a single wine-growing region.“One of the strengths of this paper is that it covers all of France,” she said. “These records come from … Burgundy, Bordeaux, Loire, and even from Switzerland, so we’re looking at an aggregate of many data sets that are put together to get one picture of how a large region is changing.”What the study can’t address is what may be taking place in any single, specific vineyard.“If you are on a certain slope with a certain soil type in Bordeaux, you will see a slightly different response than if you were on a wet soil in Burgundy,” Wolkovich said. “So there is a lot of local climate that matters to when you harvest your grapes, and especially what kind of quality you get, and this type of analysis is not targeted to answering those questions about local climate.”It’s the connection between grape and the climate — what vintners call terroir — that makes wine creation one of the most ideal proxies for examining climate change.“At the heart of a good wine is climate,” Wolkovich said. “So [the grapes] are a very good canary in the coal mine … and that’s something you see in this paper, which is that temperature is the biggest driver on when you harvest wine grapes.“You want to harvest when the grapes are perfectly ripe, when they’ve had enough time to accumulate just the right balance between acid and sugar,” she continued. “For much of France, there have been times when it’s difficult to get the exact harvest date growers want because the climate wasn’t warm enough that year… but climate change means the grapes are maturing faster.”Even if the issues weren’t so tightly intertwined, wine grape records would still be invaluable.“These are some of the longest human records we have where people are actually writing down data year after year,” Wolkovich said. “Originally, it was the church that was keeping track of these records … so our data goes back to 1300, but our analysis starts at 1600.”Most climate records, Wolkovich said, cover much less than a century — after climate change had already begun — making it difficult to gain insight into how the climate system functioned in the past.“This study was possible because of the tremendous harvest records and multicentury-long records of temperature, precipitation, and soil moisture reconstructed from historical documents and tree rings,” Cook said. “We can now use this data to ask questions about whether what we understand from a record of the last 30 years is actually representative of what that system was doing 100 or 200 or, in this case, 400 years ago.”The trend that emerged when researchers began to examine that record, Wolkovich said, showed that even modest increases in temperature can result in earlier harvests.“We are looking at climate change that, on average, has warmed globally about 0.6 degrees Celsius,” she said. “But as we go forward, with projections of 2 or more degrees of additional warming, we could be talking about significantly earlier harvests.”Ultimately, Wolkovich believes, the study’s findings should serve as a lesson for how real — and immediate — climate change’s effects are.“Grapes have allowed us, because of their long-term record, to see that we have fundamentally shifted the climate system through our actions,” Wolkovich said. “We have made these extremely hot summers in Europe no longer hot and dry, but now hot and possibly humid, which is dangerous for people. But as we can see from these long-term records, there are other, cascading consequences for wine grapes as well.”last_img read more

​ATP backs ethical currency trading code

first_imgAccording to the FinansWatch report, Danish pension fund PFA and 12 other investors joined a lawsuit against 16 major international banks accused of manipulating currency prices. Danish pension fund ATP has signed up to the FX Global Code, a scheme created by the Bank of International Settlements (BIS) and central banks outlining ethical practices for trading within the foreign exchange (FX) market.The move came after a series of instances in which investors have sued major international banks relating to their behaviour in the currency markets, according to a report by Danish news service FinansWatch.Jan Ritter, head of hedging and treasury at ATP, said: “Unfortunately, we have seen a number of examples of irregularities in the foreign exchange market, which is inappropriate when we really need to ensure well-functioning exchange activities and high credibility.“For this reason, it makes perfect sense to ATP to contribute to the promotion of these principles for ethical behaviour and support the development of a healthy exchange market.” Source: ATPATP’s office in Hillerød, DenmarkATP, however, has now become the first Danish fund to officially sign up to the FX Global Code.The fund has also become a member of the Scandinavian FX Global Code committee, which comprises of representatives from a number of central banks and investors who meet to discuss issues surrounding the FX market.Apart from setting an example of good behaviour within the market, ATP said it hoped the agreement would help the general functioning of the FX market as a whole, ensuring the best possible prices.“By supporting this initiative, we contribute to positive development in the markets,” Ritter said. “We trade currencies in numerous markets, and we want our business partners to be decent and professional.”ATP uses the currency markets to hedge the Danish krone when investing in foreign equities, among other asset classes.ATP is one of just five market participants now listed on the Global Foreign Exchange Committee’s Global Index of Public Registers as pension funds, alongside Publica, Switzerland’s largest pension investor, which was also admitted in January.The index, which has 872 entries altogether, serves as a central reference point for demonstrated commitment to the FX Global Code.last_img read more

Farrell eases fitness concerns

first_img The Lions have been installed favourites to complete their first triumphant tour for 16 years and avenge their 2-1 series defeat by Australia in 2001. Their starting XV contains 770 caps – the Wallabies’ line-up contains 519 Test appearances – and Farrell takes comfort from the presence of seasoned campaigners such as Paul O’Connell, Brian O’Driscoll, Adam Jones and Mike Phillips. “Experience in big games counts for a lot because they’ve been there and done it. Australia have some world class players and we do too,” he said. “What you generally get when you come to an occasion like this is the performance levels rise another 10-15 per cent. The more experience you have like that the better. “When you looked around the team meeting today to see who is going to go into battle with you, it gives you great pleasure. “After all the hard work we’ve done over the last six weeks, we know that this is what it’s all been for. You can tell Test week because there’s a buzz about the place and an excitement among the players. “There’s an intensity about the way we train and the work ethic on and off the park is off the level. We’ve had a great week.” Press Association The British and Irish Lions eased concerns over the fitness of Tom Croft and Jonathan Davies after they missed the final training session before Saturday’s first Test against Australia.center_img Assistant coach Andy Farrell insisted that England flanker Croft and Wales centre Davies were rested as a precautionary measure and that both would start the series opener at the Suncorp Stadium. “Tom has a little bit of inflammation on his toe that’s nothing to worry about whatsoever.” Farrell said. “The important thing is that he trained yesterday and got through the two sessions. The right thing to do is to give him a rest so that he’s fine for tomorrow. Jonathan Davies didn’t train either because of the intensity of the two sessions. It’s just stiffness. Owen Farrell ran there insisted, but it will be fine.” last_img read more

Sophomore shines in rare opportunity

first_imgLUKAS KEAPPROTH/Herald photoFollowing a big road win at Indiana, the Wisconsin Badgers are one step away from finding themselves in a bowl game. The win against the Hoosiers came in dominating fashion, as the Badgers shut out Indiana in the second half. The defense played a solid game and got contributions from everyone, especially at the linebacker position.Culmer St. Jean was inserted into the lineup following an injury sustained by starting middle linebacker Jaevery McFadden. St. Jean, a sophomore from Naples, Fla., saw all the extensive work pay off, and he got his first extended game action of the season.“To get to apply the hard work against an actual opponent felt real good,” St. Jean said.The talented second-year linebacker started two games for UW last season and has waited for another opportunity to contribute to the defense during the 2008 campaign. St. Jean understands his role but is not afraid to acknowledge the strides he is making day in and day out.“I see that I am improving as a player, and I am patiently waiting until I get my opportunity to play with the [starters],” he said.Defensive coordinator Dave Doeren was pleased with the performance of his unit Saturday and was particularly satisfied with the play of St. Jean. However, most onlookers may not have realized his presence on the field.“Nobody noticed him out there, which is usually a good sign,” Doeren explained. “I thought he played really well; he was in the right spot, made some good calls for the D-line, and I was proud of him.”St. Jean may not have made any glaring mistakes, but the linebacker is very critical of his own play and knows he can make many improvements.“There are a lot of things that I did well, but there are also some things that I did wrong,” St. Jean said. “I am my hardest critic, and sometimes I think I can be a little too hard on myself.”St. Jean might have some corrections to make, but he felt great on the field and never doubted his abilities.“I immediately got in that zone and felt real comfortable out there,” he said.The position St. Jean plays for the Badgers is one requiring true leadership qualities. The middle linebacker functions as the signal caller and is forced to handle a lot of responsibility. St. Jeans’ success at linebacker could be attributed to his history as a multi-position player at the high school level. Aside from playing safety in high school, St. Jean made significant contributions on the offensive end.“He was a quarterback in high school, so he has some natural leadership ability and command in the huddle,” Doeren said.St. Jean’s leadership ability is a crucial asset he brings to the table, but the changes in position are not easy to make, and Doeren understands the difficulty of the transition.“It has been a learning curve for sure,” Doeren said, “but he is a very strong kid who loves hitting people.”The combination of leadership and physicality make St. Jean an intriguing player whom Doeren knows has a lot of potential.For now, St. Jean will continue to play his role for Doeren’s defense, while contributing on special teams. McFadden is expected to be ready for this Saturday’s showdown with Minnesota, but St. Jean explained his mindset would not change.“I prepare every week the same because you never know when your name is going to be called,” St. Jean said.Interestingly enough, St. Jean was recruited by the Gophers, and he can attest firsthand to the battles that occur on and off the field in this storied rivalry.“It is a big rivalry and the axe means a lot,” he said.St. Jean may not see extended action on Saturday, but the linebacker’s time will come, and Doeren is excited too see what the future holds for St. Jean.“He is a very good young player, one who is going to play here for a long time,” Doeren said.last_img read more

Men’s Basketball: Badgers take down Green Bay in second straight in-state matchup

first_imgThe University of Wisconsin men’s basketball team took care of business for the fourth consecutive game after dropping their season opener to Saint Mary’s.  The matchup against UW-Green Bay is the Badgers’ last game before they head to the Legends Classic Tournament in New York. Wisconsin started the game on a 16–4 run before going scoreless for over five minutes. The Badgers pushed their lead to as many 23 points in the game. With the help of Brad Davison, Nate Reuvers and Brevin Pritzl, the Badgers poured in 51 first-half points.  The Badgers led the Phoenix by a score of 51–29 at the end of the first half. However, the Phoenix tried their best to battle their way back in the second by cutting the deficit to just 12 points. Green Bay also outscored the Badgers by four points in the second half. In the end, it was not enough to deter the Badgers as they came away with an 88–70 win.Men’s Basketball: Wisconsin dominates I-94 rivalry with Marquette, slows down Markus HowardIn front of an electric Kohl Center, the University of Wisconsin men’s basketball team beat in-state rivals Marquette 77–61 Sunday. Read…Pritzl had another solid performance by putting up 10 points and five rebounds. Reuvers led the Badgers in scoring tonight with 19 points followed by Davison who poured in 15 points himself. D’Mitrik Trice, to some surprise, dominated on the glass by bringing in eight rebounds.  Wisconsin out-shot Green Bay by 28% from beyond the arc. The Badgers drained 15 of their 31 3-point attempts (48.8%). On the flip side of the ball, Wisconsin’s smothering defense held Green Bay to only four 3-point conversions on 20 attempts (20%).  Men’s Basketball: Previewing remainder of Badgers’ non-conference scheduleWe’ll keep it simple — the prospects for a highly successful Badger basketball team weren’t great before the 2019-20 season. Read…The win caps a four-game home stretch for the Badgers. The Badgers will now head to Brooklyn, New York to participate in the Legends Classic presented by Old Trapper. The Badgers will take on the Richmond Spiders Monday night at 6 p.m., which will open play for the tournament.  Richmond is currently 3-0 on the season featuring wins against St. Francis PA, Vanderbilt and CSUN. The margin of victory in the first two games for Richmond was only plus three before blowing out CSUN by 28 points. Richmond still has one more game tomorrow night before they face the Badgers. The Spiders will be competing against McNeese State, a familiar foe for the Badgers. The Badgers took care of McNeese State last week in a 20-point victory.  The winner of the Wisconsin-Richmond game will get a chance to compete against either No. 19 Auburn or New Mexico State in the Legends Classic Championship Game Tuesday night.last_img read more