Assessing vegetation exposure to ozone: properties of the AOT40 index and modifications by deposition modelling

Environ Pollut. 2000 Sep;109(3):361-72. doi: 10.1016/s0269-7491(00)00040-3.


A discussion is presented on the application of micrometeorological deposition modelling principles to improve the characterisation of vegetation exposure to ozone and thus the use of critical levels as the basis of targeted emission control. The AOT40 (accumulated exposure over a threshold of 40 ppb or nl l(-1)) ozone exposure index is shown to impose a differential weighting that results in a high sensitivity, by a factor of two to 10 depending on the pollution climate, with respect to concentration. This makes it necessary to correct for systematic effects, such as the concentration profile below the measurement height, in order to justify a comparison with the biological data obtained from well-mixed exposure chambers. Available studies indicate a 50-70% lower AOT40 at the vegetation height. The resistance method for estimating the profile is extended to allow for stomatal effects that potentially bias the plant response predicted with an exposure index. This integrated profile-uptake correction refines the current approach and serves as a transitional step towards a real flux-based approach. For the latter, a new deposition parameterisation is tested against field observations.