Exposure-plant response of ambient ozone over the tropical Indian region
Abstract. A high resolution regional chemistry-transport model has been used to study the distribution of exposure-plant response index (AOT40, Accumulated exposure Over a Threshold of 40 ppb, expressed as ppb h) over the Indian geographical region for the year 2003 as case study. The directives on ozone pollution in ambient air provided by United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and World Health Organization (WHO) for vegetation protection (AOT40) have been used to assess the air quality. A substantial temporal and spatial variation in AOT40 values has been observed across the Indian region. Large areas of India show ozone values above the AOT40 threshold limit (3000 ppb h for 3 months). Simulated AOT40 values are found to be substantially higher throughout the year over the most fertile Indo-Gangetic plains than the other regions of India, which can have an adverse effect on plants and vegetation in this region. The observed monthly AOT40 values reported from an Indian station, agree reasonably well with model simulated results. There is an underestimation of AOT40 in the model results during the periods of highest ozone concentration from December to March. We find that the simulated AOT40 target values for protection of vegetation is exceeded even in individual months, especially during November to April. Necessary and effective emission reduction strategies are therefore required to be developed in order to curb the surface level ozone pollution to protect the vegetation from further damage in India whose economy is highly dependent on agricultural sector and may influence the global balance.