Loss of crop yields in India due to surface ozone: an estimation based on a network of observations

Abstract

Surface ozone is mainly produced by photochemical reactions involving various anthropogenic pollutants, whose emissions are increasing rapidly in India due to fast-growing anthropogenic activities. This study estimates the losses of wheat and rice crop yields using surface ozone observations from a group of 17 sites, for the first time, covering different parts of India. We used the mean ozone for 7 h during the day (M7) and accumulated ozone over a threshold of 40 ppbv (AOT40) metrics for the calculation of crop losses for the northern, eastern, western and southern regions of India. Our estimates show the highest annual loss of wheat (about 9 million ton) in the northern India, one of the most polluted regions in India, and that of rice (about 2.6 million ton) in the eastern region. The total all India annual loss of 4.0–14.2 million ton (4.2–15.0%) for wheat and 0.3–6.7 million ton (0.3–6.3%) for rice are estimated. The results show lower crop loss for rice than that of wheat mainly due to lower surface ozone levels during the cropping season after the Indian summer monsoon. These estimates based on a network of observation sites show lower losses than earlier estimates based on limited observations and much lower losses compared to global model estimates. However, these losses are slightly higher compared to a regional model estimate. Further, the results show large differences in the loss rates of both the two crops using the M7 and AOT40 metrics. This study also confirms that AOT40 cannot be fit with a linear relation over the Indian region and suggests for the need of new metrics that are based on factors suitable for this region.

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Acknowledgements

These measurements at ATCTM locations have been supported under the ‘Atmospheric Trace Gases-Chemistry, Transport and Modelling (ATCTM)’ project of ISRO’s Geosphere Biosphere Program (ISRO-GBP), and we are grateful to ISRO-GBP for the financial support. We thank R. R. Navalgund, C. B. S. Dutt, P. P. N. Rao and D. V. A. Raghava Murthy of ISRO-GBP and the Director of PRL for their encouragement and support throughout this project. We also thank all the institutional heads of these ATCTM sites for their support in successfully running this project. S. L. and S. Venkataramani are grateful to T. K. Sunil Kumar of PRL for his continuous support in the measurements at Ahmedabad and Vallabh Vidhyanagar. Fruitful comments and suggestions from C. Mallik (MPIC, Germany) and P. K. Patra (JAMSTEC, Japan) and crop yields information from V. S. Suganthy (TNAU, Ooty) are highly acknowledged. We are thankful to the Department of Agriculture and Cooperation, Government of India for making available crop yield data.

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Correspondence to Shyam Lal.

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Lal, S., Venkataramani, S., Naja, M. et al. Loss of crop yields in India due to surface ozone: an estimation based on a network of observations. Environ Sci Pollut Res 24, 20972–20981 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-017-9729-3

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Keywords

  • Crop yield loss
  • Wheat and rice
  • Surface ozone
  • Crop loss
  • Loss metrics
  • India