Saturday, November 15, 2014

Future air quality could put plants, people at risk

News Brief by Prachi Sharma

An international research team asserts that future ozone levels may be high enough to damage vegetation, and will be hazardous to both plants and people. Researchers created a predictive model for future air quality by assessing projections in climate change, U.S. land use, and emissions reductions. Through this model, they ultimately found that though ozone levels are not uniform throughout the country,  the expected emission reduction  are likely to be offset by factors including wildfires, land use, and climate change.

Researchers analyzed two scenarios established by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change: one in which greenhouse gasses peaked in 2040 and then fell by 2050, and another in which greenhouse gases rose until 2100. In both these scenarios, when researchers measured the cumulative impact of ozone over three months in the summer, they discovered that ozone levels would be high enough to disrupt photosynthesis and cause damage to plants. During these months, nitrogen oxide emissions, in particular, tend to rise and react with sunlight consequentially creating ozone. Thus, researchers emphasize that control of these emissions will be a valuable in managing ozone levels. 

Additionally, while these predictions focus on the United States, researchers believe these predictions are an indication of a growing global threat to air quality. Essentially, poor air quality does not bode well for agriculture and may prove to jeopardize human health, particularly through food shortages. Thus, researchers emphasize that poor air quality will not be a localized problem, but has the widespread potential of effecting ecosystem and humans alike.

University of Sheffield. "Future air quality could put plants, people at risk." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 November 2014. .
blog comments powered by Disqus

TuftScope: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Health, Ethics, and Policy

TuftScope is a student journal published biannually in conjunction with Tufts University since 2001. Funding is provided by the Tufts Community Union Senate. The opinions expressed on this weblog are solely those of the authors. The staff reserves the right to edit blog postings for clarity and to remove nonfunctional links.

  © Free Blogger Templates Autumn Leaves by 2008

Back to TOP