VISCA: Vineyards´ Integrated Smart Climate Application

VISCA: Vineyards´ Integrated Smart Climate Application

Author Maha AL-SALEHI

VISCA is a Climate Service (CS) and Decision Support System (DSS) that integrates climate, agricultural and end-users´ specifications to design medium- and long-term adaptation strategies to climate change on vineyards.

Project overview

The challenges brought by the unprecedented impacts of climate change are severely affecting the agriculture sector and grapes are no exception to other crops. Premium wine-grapes are especially sensitive to micro-climatic changes where variations modify grapes’ quality and quantity as well as their composition such as acidity and sugar levels; which directly affect the European wine industry. That’s why the consortium of Vineyards´ Integrated Smart Climate Application (VISCA) project has been working to design a Decision Support System (DSS) that integrate climate, agricultural and end-users specifications to support winemakers in adapting to climate change and preserve their crops.

VISCA DSS, which is available on a user-friendly web platform that is accessible by any device (desktop, tablet or phone), supplies the end-users with forecasts at 3 levels:

  • Short-term forecasts (2 days before):  to anticipate extreme weather events such as heavy rains, heat waves or frost. The information is provided on an hourly basis and is updated once a day;
  • Medium-term forecasts (10 days in advance): to help farmers plan weekly activities. The information is provided on a daily basis and is updated once a day;
  • Seasonal forecasts (6 months in advance):  to help farmers make strategic decisions months in advance. The information is updated once a month.

 

These forecasts enable the viticulturists to define crop planning (e.g. cultivation, maturation, harvesting, fertilization, pests -control, etc.) and to anticipate any necessary intervention in case of a sudden change in weather. Furthermore, VISCA tool goes far beyond the weather and climatic data, it includes phenological models which provide a forecast of when the different phenological stages are expected to be achieved (bud-break, blooming, fruitset, veraison and ripening after harvest). 

 

Also, the mid-term forecast is linked to an irrigation model, which provides irrigation recommendations one week ahead taking in consideration a multi-criteria analysis taking into account the water stress of the vines, the past historical weather and the forecast. This recommendation can help the farmer to apply a more adequate water amount to the vines and, at the same time,  to manage properly the water resources, which are normally limited and scarce in the summer.

Farmers can interact with the tool providing real updates of archived phenological phases and the  real irrigation applied, so that VISCA tool can take them into account in the next forecasts and recommendations.  

 

The project is currently at the demonstration phase where tests and modification of the tool are ongoing. However, some lessons which have been obtained during the implementation of VISCA are: 

  • VISCA tool is the one DSS which provides a range of services like meteorological, climate, phenological forecast and irrigation recommendations in a single dashboard.
  • Capacity-building is needed for farmers on how to make decisions with climate services including dealing with uncertainty  as well as which kind of decisions can be made or supported based on these tools.
  • In order to encourage farmers to apply VISCA tool and other similar climate services in their sector, we’ll need to work together with champions in the agriculture sector and influencers to apply these services in different crop varieties.
  • Disseminating and demonstrating the added value of climate services in the agriculture sector and in designing adaptation strategies is essential for the market uptake.

 

Further information can be found at the VISCA website: www.visca.eu

 

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