Articles | Volume 14, issue 1
Research article
06 Jan 2017
Research article |  | 06 Jan 2017

Development and evaluation of an ozone deposition scheme for coupling to a terrestrial biosphere model

Martina Franz, David Simpson, Almut Arneth, and Sönke Zaehle

Abstract. Ozone (O3) is a toxic air pollutant that can damage plant leaves and substantially affect the plant's gross primary production (GPP) and health. Realistic estimates of the effects of tropospheric anthropogenic O3 on GPP are thus potentially important to assess the strength of the terrestrial biosphere as a carbon sink. To better understand the impact of ozone damage on the terrestrial carbon cycle, we developed a module to estimate O3 uptake and damage of plants for a state-of-the-art global terrestrial biosphere model called OCN. Our approach accounts for ozone damage by calculating (a) O3 transport from 45 m height to leaf level, (b) O3 flux into the leaf, and (c) ozone damage of photosynthesis as a function of the accumulated O3 uptake over the lifetime of a leaf.

A comparison of modelled canopy conductance, GPP, and latent heat to FLUXNET data across European forest and grassland sites shows a general good performance of OCN including ozone damage. This comparison provides a good baseline on top of which ozone damage can be evaluated. In comparison to literature values, we demonstrate that the new model version produces realistic O3 surface resistances, O3 deposition velocities, and stomatal to total O3 flux ratios. A sensitivity study reveals that key metrics of the air-to-leaf O3 transport and O3 deposition, in particular the stomatal O3 uptake, are reasonably robust against uncertainty in the underlying parameterisation of the deposition scheme. Nevertheless, correctly estimating canopy conductance plays a pivotal role in the estimate of cumulative O3 uptake. We further find that accounting for stomatal and non-stomatal uptake processes substantially affects simulated plant O3 uptake and accumulation, because aerodynamic resistance and non-stomatal O3 destruction reduce the predicted leaf-level O3 concentrations. Ozone impacts on GPP and transpiration in a Europe-wide simulation indicate that tropospheric O3 impacts the regional carbon and water cycling less than expected from previous studies. This study presents a first step towards the integration of atmospheric chemistry and ecosystem dynamics modelling, which would allow for assessing the wider feedbacks between vegetation ozone uptake and tropospheric ozone burden.

Short summary
Ozone is a toxic air pollutant that can damage plant leaves and impact their carbon uptake from the atmosphere. We extend a terrestrial biosphere model to account for ozone damage of plants and investigate the impact on the terrestrial carbon cycle. Our approach accounts for ozone transport from the free troposphere to leaf level. We find that this substantially affects simulated ozone uptake into the plants. Simulations indicate that ozone damages plants less than expected from previous studies
Final-revised paper