An investigation of widespread ozone damage to the soybean crop in the upper Midwest determined from ground-based and satellite measurements

Jack Fishman, John K. Creilson, Peter A. Parker, Elizabeth Ainsworth, G. Geoffrey Vining, John Szarka, Fitzgerald L. Booker, Xiaojing Xu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Elevated concentrations of ground-level ozone (O3) are frequently measured over farmland regions in many parts of the world. While numerous experimental studies show that O3 can significantly decrease crop productivity, independent verifications of yield losses at current ambient O3 concentrations in rural locations are sparse. In this study, soybean crop yield data during a 5-year period over the Midwest of the United States were combined with ground and satellite O3 measurements to provide evidence that yield losses on the order of 10% could be estimated through the use of a multiple linear regression model. Yield loss trends based on both conventional ground-based instrumentation and satellite-derived tropospheric O3 measurements were statistically significant and were consistent with results obtained from open-top chamber experiments and an open-air experimental facility (SoyFACE, Soybean Free Air Concentration Enrichment) in central Illinois. Our analysis suggests that such losses are a relatively new phenomenon due to the increase in background tropospheric O3 levels over recent decades. Extrapolation of these findings supports previous studies that estimate the global economic loss to the farming community of more than 10 billion annually.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2248-2256
Number of pages9
JournalAtmospheric Environment
Issue number18
StatePublished - Jun 1 2010



  • Air pollution
  • Crop damage
  • Ozone
  • Remote sensing
  • Soybean
  • Yield

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Atmospheric Science

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