The University of Arizona

Improved Understanding of Climate Variability and Change Relevant to Orchards and Vineyards in Arizona and New Mexico | CLIMAS

Improved Understanding of Climate Variability and Change Relevant to Orchards and Vineyards in Arizona and New Mexico

Improved Understanding of Climate Variability and Change Relevant to Orchards and Vineyards in Arizona and New Mexico

CLIMAS Lead:  

Orchards and vineyards are increasingly important to rural economies of the Southwest, but growers of these high-value perennial fruit and nut crops have limited climate information to support critical decisions about selecting sites and cultivars. These crops are particularly sensitive to temperature, but it is unclear how recent warming in the Southwest has affected—and how future anticipated increases in temperature might affect—the climatic conditions important to orchards and vineyards. This project works closely with Arizona and New Mexico Cooperative Extensions and individual farmers to survey a set of orchards and vineyards currently under production to gather information about their siting and cultivars. We will assess the required temperature conditions for the current cultivars, whether these have historically been met, and if they are likely to be met in the coming decades. Using crop insurance indemnity records, we will perform a financial assessment of how site and cultivar selection are functioning in the current regional climate. We will also evaluate the suitability of present-day orchards and vineyards in the context of anticipated increases in regional temperature.

Central Question: What are the key impacts of recent and anticipated warming on orchard and vineyard siting and cultivar selection in the Southwest?