Climate Change and Crops

Part of the series Environmental Science and Engineering pp 213-243


Impacts of Ground-Level Ozone on Crop Production in a Changing Climate

  • K. VandermeirenAffiliated withVeterinary and Agrochemical Research Centre Email author 
  • , H. Harmens
  • , G. Mills
  • , L. De Temmerman

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Ozone (O3) is a naturally occurring chemical present in both the stratosphere (the ‘ozone layer’, 10–40 km above the earth) and in the troposphere (0–10 km above the earth). While stratospheric O3 protects the Earth’s surface from solar UV radiation, tropospheric O3 is the third most important greenhouse gas (after CO2 and CH4) (Denman et al. 2007; Solomon et al. 2007). It contributes to greenhouse radiative forcing, causing a change in the balance between incoming solar radiation and outgoing infrared radiation within the atmosphere that controls the Earth’s surface temperature. Besides its role as a direct greenhouse gas, O3 has been identified as one of the major phytotoxic air pollutants. The adverse effects of O3 on plants were first identified in the 1950s (Hill et al. 1961), and it is now recognized as the most important rural air pollutant, affecting human health and materials, as well as vegetation (WGE 2004).