EGU2020-12605
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu2020-12605
EGU General Assembly 2020
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Vegetation feedbacks during drought exacerbate ozone air pollution extremes in Europe

Meiyun Lin1,2, Larry Horowitz2, Yuanyu Xie1,2, Fabien Paulot2, Sergey Malyshev2, Elena Shevliakova2, Angelo Finco3, Giacomo Gerosa3, Dagmar Kubistin4, and Kim Pilegaard5
Meiyun Lin et al.
  • 1Atmospheric and Oceanic Science, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ 08540, USA (meiyun.lin@noaa.gov)
  • 2NOAA Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, Princeton, NJ 08540, USA
  • 3Department of Mathematics and Physics, Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, Via Musei 41, 25121 Brescia, BS, Italy
  • 4Deutscher Wetterdienst (DWD), Hohenpeissenberg Meteorological Observatory, Albin Schwaiger Weg 10, 82383 Hohenpeissenberg, Germany
  • 5Department of Environmental Engineering, Technical University of Denmark, 2800 Kgs. Lyngby, Denmark

This study highlights a previously under-appreciated “climate penalty” feedback mechanism - namely, substantial reductions of ozone uptake by water stressed vegetation – as a missing piece to the puzzle of why European ozone pollution episodes have not decreased as expected in recent decades, despite marked reductions in regional emissions of ozone precursors due to regulatory changes. The most extreme ozone pollution episodes are linked to heatwaves and droughts, which are increasing in frequency and intensity over Europe, with severe impacts on natural and human systems. Under drought stress, plants close their stomata to reduce water loss, consequently limiting the ozone uptake by vegetation (a component of dry deposition), leading to increased surface ozone concentrations. Such land-biosphere feedbacks are often overlooked in prior air quality projections, owing to a lack of process-based model formulations. Here, we use six decades of observations and Earth system model simulations (1960-2018) with an interactive dry deposition scheme to show that declining ozone removal by water-stressed vegetation in the warming climate exacerbate ozone air pollution over Europe. Incorporated into a dynamic vegetation land – atmospheric chemistry – climate model, the dry deposition scheme mechanistically describes the response of ozone deposition to atmospheric COconcentration, canopy air vapor pressure deficit, and soil water availability. Our observational and modeling analyses reveal drought stress causing as much as 70% reductions in ozone removal by forests. Reduced ozone removal by water-stressed vegetation worsens peak ozone episodes during European mega-droughts, such as the 2003 event, offsetting much of the air quality improvements gained from regional emission controls. Accounting for vegetation feedbacks leads to a three-fold increase in high surface ozone events above 80 ppbv (8-hour average) and a 20% increase in the sensitivity of ozone pollution extremes (95th percentile) to increasing temperature. As the frequency of hot and dry summers is expected to increase in the coming decades, this ozone climate penalty could be severe and therefore needs to be considered when designing clean air policy in the European Union. 

Notes: This study is currently under review for possible publication in Nature Climate Change. 

How to cite: Lin, M., Horowitz, L., Xie, Y., Paulot, F., Malyshev, S., Shevliakova, E., Finco, A., Gerosa, G., Kubistin, D., and Pilegaard, K.: Vegetation feedbacks during drought exacerbate ozone air pollution extremes in Europe, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-12605, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu2020-12605, 2020

How to cite: Lin, M., Horowitz, L., Xie, Y., Paulot, F., Malyshev, S., Shevliakova, E., Finco, A., Gerosa, G., Kubistin, D., and Pilegaard, K.: Vegetation feedbacks during drought exacerbate ozone air pollution extremes in Europe, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-12605, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu2020-12605, 2020

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Display material version 1 – uploaded on 29 Apr 2020
  • AC1: Nature Climate Change Article, Meiyun Lin, 29 Apr 2020

    This study is just published in Nature Climate Change. Read full text here: https://rdcu.be/b3FE6