Exhaust gas is to blame: Ground-level ozone is damaging crops

phys.org | 4/10/2019 | Staff
n.king (Posted by) Level 3
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It is generally known that pollution has damaged the ozone layer around the Earth. The ozone layer is important for protecting life from harmful UV rays from the sun. However, the fact that pollution leads to too much ozone at ground level is less known.

"Too much ozone at ground level is not good. It can damage the vegetation on Earth. The concentration of ozone at ground level has more than doubled in 150 years," says Professor Frode Stordal from the Department of Geosciences at UiO.

Consequences - Researchers - Ozone - Ground - Level

The consequences are alarming. By as early as 2010, international researchers determined that the ozone at ground level reduced the production of wheat by seven to twelve percent, soybeans by six to sixteen percent, rice by three to four percent, and corn by three to five percent. In 2004, researchers at the University of Gothenburg published an article in which they stated that ozone pollution reduced potato crops by as much as twenty percent. In a scientific article in 2018, Swedish and other European researchers determined that ozone at ground level destroys nearly ten percent of wheat production in the Northern hemisphere.

Now scientists fear that the ozone layer along the ground can do even more damage in Arctic regions. The plant physiologists and atmosphere physicists at the University of Oslo have therefore joined forces to research this.

Research - Look - Ozone - Ground - Level

To understand their research, we need to briefly look at why the ozone has increased at ground level and why it damages vegetation.

Ozone is made up of oxygen atoms, just like the oxygen we breathe. While the life-giving oxygen molecules in the air consist of two oxygen atoms (O2), ozone is made up of three oxygen atoms (O3). The difference may sound small, but it makes a dramatic difference. Ozone is the air pollutant that can do the most damage...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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