Articles | Volume 14, issue 17
Research article
05 Sep 2014
Research article |  | 05 Sep 2014

Ozone vegetation damage effects on gross primary productivity in the United States

X. Yue and N. Unger

Abstract. We apply an off-line process-based vegetation model (the Yale Interactive Terrestrial Biosphere model) to assess the impacts of ozone (O3) vegetation damage on gross primary productivity (GPP) in the United States during the past decade (1998–2007). The model's GPP simulation is evaluated at 40 sites of the North American Carbon Program (NACP) synthesis. The ecosystem-scale model version reproduces interannual variability and seasonality of GPP at most sites, especially in croplands. Inclusion of the O3 damage impact decreases biases of simulated GPP at most of the NACP sites. The simulation with the O3 damage effect reproduces 64% of the observed variance in summer GPP and 42% on the annual average. Based on a regional gridded simulation over the US, summertime average O3-free GPP is 6.1 g C m−2 day−1 (9.5 g C m−2 day−1 in the east of 95° W and 3.9 g C m−2 day−1 in the west). O3 damage decreases GPP by 4–8% on average in the eastern US and leads to significant decreases of 11–17% in east coast hot spots. Sensitivity simulations show that a 25% decrease in surface O3 concentration halves the average GPP damage to only 2–4%, suggesting the substantial co-benefits to ecosystem health that may be achieved via O3 air pollution control.

Final-revised paper