Legislative and functional aspects of different metrics used for ozone risk assessment to forests

TitleLegislative and functional aspects of different metrics used for ozone risk assessment to forests
Publication TypeArticolo su Rivista peer-reviewed
Year of Publication2022
AuthorsAnav, A., De Marco Alessandra, Collalti A., Emberson L., Feng Z., Lombardozzi D., Sicard P., Verbeke T., Viovy N., Vitale M., and Paoletti E.
JournalEnvironmental Pollution

Surface ozone (O3) is a threat to forests by decreasing photosynthesis and, consequently, influencing the strength of land carbon sink. However, due to the lack of continuous surface O3 measurements, observational-based assessments of O3 impacts on forests are largely missing at hemispheric to global scales. Currently, some metrics are used for regulatory purposes by governments or national agencies to protect forests against the negative impacts of ozone: in particular, both Europe and United States (US) makes use of two different exposure-based metrics, i.e. AOT40 and W126, respectively. However, because of some limitations in these metrics, a new standard is under consideration by the European Union (EU) to replace the current exposure metric. We analyse here the different air quality standards set or proposed for use in Europe and in the US to protect forests from O3 and to evaluate their spatial and temporal consistency while assessing their effectiveness in protecting northern-hemisphere forests. Then, we compare their results with the information obtained from a complex land surface model (ORCHIDEE). We find that present O3 uptake decreases gross primary production (GPP) in 37.7% of the NH forested area of northern hemisphere with a mean loss of 2.4% year−1. We show how the proposed US (W126) and the currently used European (AOT40) air quality standards substantially overestimate the extension of potential vulnerable regions, predicting that 46% and 61% of the Northern Hemisphere (NH) forested area are at risk of O3 pollution. Conversely, the new proposed European standard (POD1) identifies lower extension of vulnerability regions (39.6%). © 2021 Elsevier Ltd


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