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Spring frost scares the countryside and vineyards of Italy and France

Coldiretti: “return of cold weather hits a nature shocked with weather-deceived crops waking up earlier than usual”

The first warm spring weather, then the sudden change in temperatures, and as has been the case for years, the news is filled with frost alerts that put farmers and winemakers on edge. And this 2023 is no exception. “The frost with sub-zero temperatures is hitting Italy after a warm winter that climatologically recorded a temperature 1.21 degrees higher than the historical average, but the anomaly is even 1.38 degrees higher in the North, where now fans and frost irrigation in orchards have been triggered to save crops”. This was stated by Coldiretti on Isac CNR data in reference to the wave of bad weather that is hitting Italy amid snowfall, ice, plunging temperatures below zero, rain and hail. The return of cold weather more than two weeks after the start of spring and practically on the eve of Easter is hitting nature with crops fooled by the weather that have awakened earlier than usual, but there is also the early ripening of early crops that are burned by frost.
It is a situation that has brought in antifreeze fans, which by mixing the warmer layers of air 14, 15 meters above the ground with the colder air surrounding the trees allow them to create a protective barrier that can save the small ripening fruits. But from the onslaught of frost, farmers also defend themselves by using the cold itself with water vaporizers that create a patina on branches and fruit that freezes without suffocating or burning the plant while protecting it from the excessive drop in temperatures. And even by lighting candles among the vines, as happened at Tenuta di Trinoro in Val d’Orcia ( in the photos).
“After the hail that hit flowering crops such as peach, apricot and cherry trees in spots, a new threat arrives for crops that are increasingly exposed to the consequences of climate change, which in the last year has caused more than 6 billion in damage to Italian agriculture. The exceptionality of weather events is now the norm, with a trend toward tropicalization that - concludes Coldiretti - manifests itself with a higher frequency of violent events, seasonal displacements, short and intense rainfall and the rapid transition from sunshine to bad weather, with significant temperature swings that compromise crops in the fields with losses of national agricultural production and damage to structures and infrastructure in the countryside”.
Meanwhile, reports the French portal Vithispere, there is also alarm among vineyards in France, after a few nights already with temperatures below zero degrees in Burgundy, Champagne and Loire, for now with no particular damage, although there is apprehension in the Bordeaux region, especially in the Médoc, Sauternes areas, where the vegetative phase of the vine is more advanced.

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