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Historical phenology

Grape ripening as a past climate indicator

Summer temperature variations are reconstructed from harvest dates since 1370.


French records of grape-harvest dates in Burgundy were used to reconstruct spring–summer temperatures from 1370 to 2003 using a process-based phenology model developed for the Pinot Noir grape. Our results reveal that temperatures as high as those reached in the 1990s have occurred several times in Burgundy since 1370. However, the summer of 2003 appears to have been extraordinary, with temperatures that were probably higher than in any other year since 1370.

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Figure 1: April–August temperature anomalies in Burgundy, France, as reconstructed from grape-harvest dates from 1370 to 2003.


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Correspondence to Pascal Yiou.

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The authors declare no competing financial interests.

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Chuine, I., Yiou, P., Viovy, N. et al. Grape ripening as a past climate indicator. Nature 432, 289–290 (2004).

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