Air Pollution Impacts on Global Crop Productivity and Nitrogen Depositio

Wednesday, 17 December 2014: 5:30 PM
Colette L Heald, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Cambridge, MA, United States, Amos P. K. Tai, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, Hong Kong and Maria Val Martin, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, United States
The biosphere is undeniably transformed by air pollution. Emissions, climate change, and land use change are all expected to substantially alter future air quality. In this presentation, we discuss near-term projections (2050) of air quality impacts on both crop productivity and nitrogen deposition.

First, we contrast the relative impacts of ozone air pollution and a warming climate on global crop yields. To do so, we define statistical crop yield functions to a warming climate based on the historical record. We combine these relationships with ozone-damage estimates and apply these to future air quality and climate projections from a global coupled chemistry-climate model (CESM). We find substantial variability in the response, with certain regions or crops more sensitive to ozone pollution and others more sensitive to warming. This work demonstrates that air quality management is a key element to ensuring global food security.

Second, we examine the relative impacts of anthropogenic emissions, climate change, and land use change on global nitrogen deposition. Nitrogen deposition has rapidly increased over the Anthropocene. Excess deposition of nitrogen to ecosystems can lead to eutrophication of waters, and a decrease in biodiversity. We use the CESM to investigate two scenarios (RCP 4.5 and RCP8.5) and focus our analysis on the impacts on diverse ecoregions in North America, Europe, and Asia.