Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Food crops worth millions lost due to ozone

08.10.2004


University of York calculates huge economic impact of ozone



Increased ozone concentrations at ground level may be causing millions of pounds of damage to UK food crops, according to a University of York researcher. Building on a previous study on ozone concentrations in the environment, which estimated that in 1990 alone the UK lost £130million in crops due to ozone taken up by plants, Dr Lisa Emberson of the Stockholm Environment Institute has been developing new methods to calculate the amount of ozone that agricultural crops absorb.

Her figures incorporate factors such as species-specific and environmental conditions (e.g. growing season, drought and humidity) that, in combination with ozone concentrations, determine plant susceptibility. Applying this new method for the UK, the loss of production in two staple crops, wheat and potato, translates into economic losses of approximately £70million and £14million respectively. The scale of damage varies by region according to ozone levels, climate, and crop distribution.


The figures only take into account the effect on the quantity or yield of the crop, and do not include other ozone damage such as leaf injury or poor grain quality. Work is now underway to assess the threat to maize, tomato, sunflower and sugar beet – economically important crops which are sensitive to ozone. Ozone is a naturally occurring atmospheric gas. High up in the earth’s atmosphere, it plays a crucial role in filtering out harmful ultraviolet radiation that would otherwise damage life on earth. However, at ground level, it damages human health, vegetation and materials and is also a potent greenhouse gas.

Before industrialisation, annual mean ozone concentrations were between 10 to 15 parts per billion (ppb). Concentrations have now risen to around 30 ppb, and hot sunny days in the UK lead to concentrations that can exceed 100 ppb. Dr Emberson said: “Research into the effects of ozone on UK crops is remarkably limited given the economic implications of the problem. Most research has focused on visible injuries or reductions in yield rather than nutritional content.” Dr Emberson says ozone is a significant global problem. Concentrations have been increasing in many parts of the world, particularly in Asia where crop losses may hit the poor the hardest. “It’s crucial to agricultural management to understand the combined stresses of ozone pollution and climate, especially given the projected increase in background ozone concentrations and changes in climate likely to occur in coming decades,” she added.

Dr Emberson is co-editor of the recently-published ‘Air Pollution Impacts on Crops and Forests’ which has collated key studies in which the Asian region was identified as facing the most serious risks to agricultural productivity both now and in the future.

The Stockholm Environment Institute at York has established an Air Pollution Crop Effect Network, and a workshop in Bangkok organised by Dr Emberson brought together 30 delegates from 15 different countries to initiate a co-ordinated effort to assess air pollution impacts across the south Asian region. Further details of this project can be found at http://www.york.ac.uk/inst/sei/rapidc2/impactscrops.html

Dr Lisa Emberson | alfa
Further information:
http://www.york.ac.uk/inst/sei/rapidc2/impactscrops.html
http://www.york.ac.uk

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Dune ecosystem modelling
26.06.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

nachricht Understanding animal social networks can aid wildlife conservation
23.06.2017 | Leibniz-Institut für Gewässerökologie und Binnenfischerei (IGB)

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Study shines light on brain cells that coordinate movement

26.06.2017 | Life Sciences

Smooth propagation of spin waves using gold

26.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Switchable DNA mini-machines store information

26.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>