3 years ago

Impacts of ozone air pollution and temperature extremes on crop yields: Spatial variability, adaptation and implications for future food security

Impacts of ozone air pollution and temperature extremes on crop yields: Spatial variability, adaptation and implications for future food security
Ozone air pollution and climate change pose major threats to global crop production, with ramifications for future food security. Previous studies of ozone and warming impacts on crops typically do not account for the strong ozone-temperature correlation when interpreting crop-ozone or crop-temperature relationships, or the spatial variability of crop-to-ozone sensitivity arising from varietal and environmental differences, leading to potential biases in their estimated crop losses. Here we develop an empirical model, called the partial derivative-linear regression (PDLR) model, to estimate the spatial variations in the sensitivities of wheat, maize and soybean yields to ozone exposures and temperature extremes in the US and Europe using a composite of multidecadal datasets, fully correcting for ozone-temperature covariation. We find generally larger and more spatially varying sensitivities of all three crops to ozone exposures than are implied by experimentally derived concentration-response functions used in most previous studies. Stronger ozone tolerance is found in regions with high ozone levels and high consumptive crop water use, reflecting the existence of spatial adaptation and effect of water constraints. The spatially varying sensitivities to temperature extremes also indicate stronger heat tolerance in crops grown in warmer regions. The spatial adaptation of crops to ozone and temperature we find can serve as a surrogate for future adaptation. Using the PDLR-derived sensitivities and 2000–2050 ozone and temperature projections by the Community Earth System Model, we estimate that future warming and unmitigated ozone pollution can combine to cause an average decline in US wheat, maize and soybean production by 13%, 43% and 28%, respectively, and a smaller decline for European crops. Aggressive ozone regulation is shown to offset such decline to various extents, especially for wheat. Our 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.

Publisher URL: www.sciencedirect.com/science

DOI: S1352231017305836

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