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Study: Increasing Levels of Surface Ozone Reduce Plant Growth and Add to Global Warming

Scientists from three UK research institutes—the Met Office, the University of Exeter and the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology—have found that projections of increasing levels of ozone near the Earth’s surface could lead to significant reductions in regional plant production and crop yields. Their research is published online in the journal Nature.

Tropospheric (near-surface) ozone has doubled since 1850 due to emissions associated with fossil fuel and biomass burning, and further increases are expected over the twenty-first century.

Tropospheric ozone is known to damage plants, reducing plant primary productivity and crop yields, yet increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations are thought to stimulate plant primary productivity. Increased carbon dioxide and ozone levels can both lead to stomatal closure, reducing the uptake of either gas, and in turn limiting the damaging effect of ozone and the carbon dioxide fertilization of photosynthesis.

The researchers estimated the impact of projected changes in ozone levels on the land-carbon sink using a global land carbon cycle model modified to include the effect of ozone deposition on photosynthesis and to account for interactions between ozone and carbon dioxide through stomatal closure.

They found a “significant suppression” of the global land-carbon sink as increases in ozone concentrations affect plant productivity. In consequence, more carbon dioxide accumulates in the atmosphere. They suggest that the resulting indirect radiative forcing by ozone effects on plants could contribute more to global warming than the direct radiative forcing due to tropospheric ozone increases.

Climate models have largely ignored atmospheric chemistry but in this research we have identified a cause of potentially increased warming with elevated levels of surface ozone likely to suppress plant growth.

—Dr Stephen Sitch, Met Office Hadley Centre

We estimate that ozone effects on plants could double the importance of ozone increases in the lower atmosphere as a driver of climate change, so policies to limit increases in near-surface ozone must be seen as an even higher priority.

—Professor Peter Cox, University of Exeter




Tropospheric (near-surface) ozone has doubled since 1850 due to emissions associated with fossil fuel and biomass burning, and further increases are expected over the twenty-first century.

Another great reason to have electric vehicles along with wind and solar power generation.

It has rained the last 3 days in Salt Lake City and the air today is very nice and clean. Too bad it's not like that every day.

The other day a co worker asked me how much my electric motorcycle and my solar system cost combined. I told him they cost about 1/4 of what his SUV cost. See for details.


Funny line, but, get real. I would love to have solar. I mean, how can you live in Phoenix and not have solar, right!!
My 2003 SUV that I use to create income for my family was 32K.
Here are the quotes I got for outfitting my 3BR 2Bath 1900 SF house with a grid-tie unit that would supply 70% our our need.
SouthWest Solar 24,900
EV Solar Ind 26,500
SRP 28,900

Thats more than 3/4 not less than 1/4


Funny line but get real

I am being real and I have the reciepts to prove it. My electric motorcycle only cost me 4400. It has more than enough range to get me to work and back and daily errands. The itemized cost is listed on my web site.

My solar system was never designed to supply my entire house. It was only designed to "Fuel" or recharge my motorcycle.

I also did the PV installation myself, so I did NOT pay labor for someone else to do the work. Total cost of my PV system was 5800. If you are interested in building your own system, Home Power magazine is a great resource for information. It really is not as hard as it looks.

So bike and PV system cost 10,200 combined total.

My co workers SUV has every option in the book along with 20 inch chorme wheels and fancy tires. It cost more than 45,000.

I stand by my original statment of my system cost 1/4 the price of an SUV :)


Ozone harts plants, increased CO2 improves plant’s growth and survivability significantly. Couple of researches found that increased CO2 diminish negative impact of ozone on plants, but of course net effect depends on concentrations of ozone, CO2, and specific plant.

In any case, reduction of ground-level ozone – which is directly proportional to photosmog level, is beneficial from point of view of human health, productivity of plants, and as current article claims – even for reduction of CO2 in atmosphere.

Precursors for ground-level ozone are NOx and VOC (unburned HC); most of them are emitted from cars and trucks. Diesel emissions of NOx are especially hard to supress.

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