Impacts of climate change and ozone air pollution on crop production

Impacts of changes in climate and ozone air pollution on crop production 

Over five decades of observations and research have demonstrated the damaging effects of surface ozone on forests, pastures and crops. 

Air pollution and climate change have been shown to represent major threats to global food security. Combined with an ever-increasing global demand for food crops driven by a rising world population and widespread shift toward more meat-intensive diets, future pollution and warming trends are expected to render the world's food supply even more vulnerable. 

In this study, the WUN research group Impacts of Future Climate and Land Use Changes on Public Health and Food Security in Sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia, led by Prof. Amos Tai of the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), develops a novel empirical model to investigate the spatial variability of crop yield sensitivities to ozone exposures and temperature extremes for three staple crops (spring wheat, maize and soybean) in the US and Europe.

The spatial adaptation of crops to ozone and temperature can serve as a surrogate for future adaptation not only in North America and Europe, but also in developing regions including those in Asia and Africa. These findings demonstrate the importance of considering ozone regulation as well as ozone and climate change adaptation (e.g., selecting heat- and ozone-tolerant cultivars, irrigation) as possible strategies to enhance future food security in response to imminent environmental threats.

The results of this work have been published as an article Impacts of ozone air pollution and temperature extremes on crop yields: Spatial variability, adaptation and implications for future food security in science journal Atmospheric Environment 

The collaboration between the two authors CUHK’s Prof. Amos Tai and Sheffield’s Prof. Maria Val Martin was supported by the Research Development Fund of the Worldwide Universities Network.

Atmospheric Environment is the international journal for scientists in different disciplines related to atmospheric composition and its impacts. The journal publishes scientific articles with atmospheric relevance of emissions and depositions of gaseous and particulate compounds, chemical processes and physical effects in the atmosphere, as well as impacts of the changing atmospheric composition on human health, air quality, climate change, and ecosystems. Publisher: Elsevier