Monday, 15 December 2014
Galina Churkina1, Ruediger Grote2 and Tim M Butler1, (1)Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies, Potsdam, Germany, (2)Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Institute for Meteorology and Climate Research, Karlsruhe, Germany
Fast-track programs to plant millions of trees in cities around the world aim at the reduction of summer temperatures, increase carbon storage, storm water control, provision of space for recreation, as well as poverty alleviation. Although these multiple benefits speak positively for urban greening programs, the programs do not take into account how close human and natural systems are coupled in urban areas. Elevated temperatures together with anthropogenic emissions of air and water pollutants distinguish the urban system. Urban and sub-urban vegetation responds to ambient changes and reacts with pollutants. Neglecting the existence of this coupling may lead to unforeseen drawbacks of urban greening programs. The potential for emissions from urban vegetation combined with anthropogenic emissions to produce ozone has long been recognized. This potential increases under rising temperatures. Here we investigate how global change induced heat waves affect emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOC) from urban vegetation and corresponding ground-level ozone levels. We also quantify other ecosystem services provided by urban vegetation (e.g., cooling and carbon storage) and their sensitivity to climate change. In this study we use Weather Research and Forecasting Model with coupled atmospheric chemistry (WRF-CHEM) to quantify these feedbacks in Berlin, Germany during the heat waves in 2003 and 2006. We highlight the importance of the vegetation for urban areas under changing climate and discuss associated tradeoffs.