Research Details

Lehigh University Benjamin Felzer - CASTNET + EPA/AIRS sites, Lehigh University Benjamin Felzer - JJA AOT0 (climatological ozone)

I have been looking at the effects of ozone pollution on vegetation productivity and carbon sequestration. Ground-level ozone has been observed to inhibit photosynthesis by direct cellular damage. I have incorporated the empirical approach of Ollinger et al. (1997) and Reich (1987) derived for deciduous and coniferous trees and crops to the TEM model. This method inversely relates gross primary productivity (GPP) to accumulated hourly ozone levels. The ozone values are based on the AOT40 index, which is a measure of hourly-accumulated ozone above a threshold of 40 ppb. In order to apply the equation to TEM, I have developed a gridded map of AOT40 for the U.S. developed from the EPA CASTNET and AIRS datasets, and a globally, gridded map of AOT40 values based on the MIT Integrated Global System Model (IGSM) and MATCH models. Results for the U.S. observed dataset are published in Tellus while the global economic implications of future ozone pollution are published in Climatic Change.  A review that accounts for the effects of increasing nitrogen deposition with increasing ozone is published in Comptes rendus Geoscience.

Figure 1: a) Location of CASTNET (filled circles) and AIRS (asterices) sites containing hourly ozone data for the U.S., b) Mean of AOT40 (ppb-hr) based on the 0.5°x0.5° interpolation of the CASTNET and AIRS data for 1998-2000 during June-July-August.

Figure 2
Lehigh University Benjamin Felzer - Cumulative effects on NCE

Transient Net Carbon Exchange (NCE) responses from 1950-1995, showing how ozone effect compares to other disturbances. Effect of CO2 fertilization, climate variability, land use, agricultural management, ozone, and the cross terms between ozone and nitrogen fertilization on cumulative carbon sequestration.  All units in (Tgyr-1).

Figure 3
Lehigh University Benjamin Felzer - JJA 1998 AOT40, Lehigh University Benjamin Felzer - Annual % difference NPP (1989-1993) with N Fertilization

a) Mean global AOT40 (ppm-hr) for June-July-August of 1998, b) Map of mean annual Net Primary Productivity (NPP) percent difference between the ozone and control simulations for the years 1989-1993.  Largest decrease is 60.0% and largest increase is 8%, which occurs for only 2.6 % of grids.  Most significant decreases in NPP occur in the southeastern half of the U.S., eastern Europe, and eastern China.


Felzer, B., Kicklighter, D., Melillo, J., Wang, C., Zhuang, Q., and R. Prinn. (2004). “Effects of ozone on net primary production and carbon sequestration in the conterminous United States using a biogeochemistry model”, Tellus, 56B: 230-248.

Felzer, B. S., Reilly, J. Melillo, J., Kicklighter, D. W., Sarofim, M., Wang, C., Prinn, R. G., and Q. Zhuang. (2005). “Future effects of ozone on carbon sequestration and climate change policy using a global biochemistry model”, Climatic Change, 73 (3): 345-373.

Felzer, B. S., Cronin, T., Reilly, J. M., Melillo, J. M. and Wang, X. 2007. Impacts of ozone on trees and crops. Comptes rendus Geosience. 339/11-12: 784-798 DOI: 10.1016/j.crte.2007.08.008.

Ren, W., Tian, H., Liu, M., Zhang, C., Chen, G., Pan, S., Felzer, B., Xu, X. 2007. Effects of tropospheric ozone pollution on net primary productivity and carbon storage in terrestrial ecosystems of China. Journ. Geophys. Res. 112, D22S09, doi:10.1029/2007JD008521.