NASA Research Reveals Soybean Damage Near $2 Billion
The study, headed by NASA Langley Research Center in
“In the 19th and early 20th century, background surface ozone concentrations were relatively low so that an increase of 25 percent, (5 to 10 parts per billion), didn’t affect living organisms,” said
Ozone can protect or harm life on Earth. Six miles above the surface, ozone in the stratosphere is a shield from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet radiation. In the troposphere or the closest layer (surface to 6 miles) ground-level ozone is a pollutant made from reactions between sunlight and human-induced emissions – harmful to breathe and damaging to plants.
The severe heat of the Midwest each summer has combined with manmade emissions to create smog and increasingly higher levels of its primary component, surface ozone, over the past several decades.
Fishman, former NASA Langley employee
Until now, the question of ozone impact on crop yield was mostly addressed by closed, chamber studies and on a larger scale at open-air facilities like SoyFACE. The study proved that space-borne satellite measurements of troposphere ozone – derived from NASA’s Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer (TOMS) prior to 2005, and from the Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) since 2005 – are useful indicators of surface ozone concentration over a far broader area than ground-based monitors.
The study used both satellite and surface observations of ozone, historic yield data and a sophisticated statistical model that also included factors such as ozone, temperature and soil moisture.
Creilson, now at the Climate System Research Center at the
“You have these farming locations that have no way of measuring surface ozone,” Creilson said. “What we had to do was come up with a way of showing them there’s a benefit of having the information.”
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