Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

FP7

ECLAIRE — Result In Brief

Project ID: 282910
Funded under: FP7-ENVIRONMENT
Country: United Kingdom

How climate change exacerbates the impacts of air pollution

A Europe-wide study of the impacts of air pollution on ecosystems under changing climate conditions developed a series of large-scale models and data sets. The EU-funded initiative indicated that nitrogen and ozone pollution interact to affect plant productivity, plant community composition and carbon storage, with climate warming expected to exacerbate the adverse impacts of air pollution.
How climate change exacerbates the impacts of air pollution
The ECLAIRE (Effects of climate change on air pollution impacts and response strategies for European ecosystems) project studied how the climate, ecosystems and the atmosphere interact and how this affects ecosystems. The work was based on field observations and laboratory experiments carried out with the aid of models ranging from the plot to the European scale.

Flux measurements between European ecosystems and the atmosphere for nitric oxide (NO), ozone (O3), ammonia (NH3) and biogenic (meaning a substance produced by life processes) volatile organic compounds and particulate matter provided the foundation to better understand their climate interactions. Combined with the results of experimental ecosystem manipulations, project partners used the results to improve computer models accounting for important components in European ecosystems.

Models were developed for predicting the role of biogenic emissions in air pollution and climate at the European and global scales. Data mining was also carried out to assess and further develop existing models for a range of ecosystem types. Key parameters were identified and protocols developed for collecting data from ECLAIRE experiments.

Global dynamic soil and vegetation models were created that account for effects of O3 exposure and nitrogen deposition on productivity. A forest model was also developed for conducting rapid assessments of air quality and climate change interactions. Researchers carried out the preliminary mapping of ozone dose thresholds for forests, and modelled all changes in various parameters affecting carbon sequestration in forests.

In addition, ECLAIRE showed more clearly how climate change will affect the impact of air pollutants on crop yields, especially crop loss due to tropospheric O3, identifying novel interactions with nitrogen. Researchers discovered that higher O3 levels reduce crop nitrogen (N) use efficiency, suggesting that O3 pollution will worsen both nitrate water pollution and nitrous oxide emissions.

Results also revealed how agricultural NH3 emissions can be expected to increase under a warmer climate, thereby exacerbating this major loss of fertiliser nitrogen. This finding highlighted the need for European NH3 emission controls if air quality objectives for particulate matter (PM) and habitats protection goals for nitrogen deposition are to be achieved under future climate conditions.

Related information

Keywords

Air pollution, ecosystems, nitrogen, ozone, ECLAIRE, climate change, nitric oxide, nitric oxide, ammonia, biogenic, carbon sequestration
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