Could this be affecting our own garden food production?
On a larger scale, in view of the current hoo-hah in the pop media
about world-wide food shortages and skyrocketing local U.S. price
increases, why not forward this to your Senate or House whore.
(No offense to honest sex workers).
There is less and less food available to the organizations that feed
the poor in countries outside these happy shores, in part because
their budgets are fixed, and food prices have shot up. Result:
world-wide hunger. A child dies of starvation every few seconds.
The handful of our Congressional reps. who take seriously the oath
they swore can do little in the face of the majority who are in it for
power, privilege, and a fat, pension-cum medical care. Plus, of
course, a cushy job in the industry they were supposed to be
regulating. (Don't let the revolving door hit you on the way out, dear
Still...could do no harm to forward this where it might do some good.
Even the most politically-blinded Republicans are beginning to
understand that global warming/climate change is a reality. Or maybe
they're only running for cover, come election day.
Wonder if the Environmental Pollution Agency, perhaps the most
heavily politicized of all the Bush era puppet shows, is looking
at this research.
Lower Crop Yields Due To Ozone A Factor In World Food Crisis
ScienceDaily (Jun. 9, 2008) — Heat waves, droughts and fuel prices are
just a few reasons for the current global food crisis that is making
headlines around the world. Research by William Manning of the
University of Massachusetts Amherst indicates that rising background
levels of ozone in the atmosphere are a likely contributor to the
problem, lowering the yield of important food crops, such as wheat and
“Plants are much more sensitive to ozone than people, and a slight
increase in exposure can have a large impact on their productivity,”
says Manning, a professor of plant, soil and insect sciences. “The new
ozone standard set by the U.S. EPA in March 2008 is based on
protecting human health, and *****may not be strict enough to protect
*Manning served on the Clean Air Science Advisory
Committee for the EPA in 1997 when the previous air quality standard
for ozone was developed.
According to Manning, emission controls on cars have been successful
in reducing short periods of high ozone levels called peaks, but
average concentrations of ozone in the atmosphere throughout the year,
called the background level, is increasing as *****polluted air masses
from Asia travel to the U. S. and then on to Europe.*****
levels are now between 20 and 45 parts per billion in Europe and the
United States, and are expected to increase to between 42 and 84 parts
per billion by 2100.
Manning was recently part of a team of researchers studying how ozone
levels in the Yangtze Delta affect the growth of oilseed rape, a
member of the cabbage family that produces one-third of the vegetable
oil used in China. By growing the plants in chambers that controlled
the ozone environment, the team showed that exposure to elevated ozone
reduced the size and weight, or biomass, of the plants by 10 to 20
percent. Production of seeds and oil was also reduced. Results of the
study are scheduled for publication in Environmental Pollution.
*****“What was surprising about this research was that plants exposed
to ozone levels that peaked in the late afternoon suffered more damage
than plants exposed to a steady ozone concentration throughout the
day, even though average ozone concentrations were the same for both
groups,” says Manning. “This shows that current ozone standards that
rely on average concentrations would underestimate crop losses.”*****
Additional research in the Yangtze Valley, which accounts for nearly
half of China’s crop production, showed that wheat was more sensitive
to ozone than rice. “Plants vary widely in their sensitivity to ozone,
and varieties of the same species can react differently,” says
Manning. “Some of the most sensitive plant species are from the legume
and cabbage families, which include radishes, broccoli and soybeans.”
Plants can limit ozone damage for short periods of time by
reducing the size of pores on their leaves called stomata. This
reduces the uptake of ozone, but also carbon dioxide, which is used as
the plants make food through the process of photosynthesis. Chronic
exposure results in reduced photosynthesis, plant growth and yields.
In the long term, leaf injury occurs when the amount of ozone taken in
exceeds the leaf’s capacity to provide antioxidants to counter its
This summer, Manning will be investigating the effects of ozone on a
variety of plants in the Pioneer Valley of Massachusetts, where ozone
levels are often above the EPA standard as pollution from New York
City and Washington, D.C. moves northward during the day. Plants will
be grown in open fields, and some will be treated with a compound that
blocks the effects of ozone. If the treated plants are healthier than
the untreated group, then ozone will be the cause.