The double punch: Ozone and climate stresses on vegetation (OzoNorClim)

Ozone on the ground level causes stress in natural vegetation. When the ozone level increases at the same time as the climate changes, vegetation is being hit by a double punch. This project seeks to find out how this affects the yield and growth.

Photo: Elina Melteig

About the project

Vegetation is being hit by a double punch; air pollution and climate change. Ground level ozone is a problem reducing yield and growth of plants in natural vegetation all over the world. In Northern Norway the levels of ozone in the air is lower than in more densely populated areas. Nevertheless, the level may increase due to increased traffic of ships along the coast as larger areas are becoming free of ice in the Arctic in summer. Thus, it is important to keep track of vegetation responses near these coastal areas.


Using climate models and models for air pollution, we will gain more information about the changes going on in these northern areas. The aim is to ameliorate the lack of knowledge on the special conditions of the Arctic areas and on the feedback between vegetation and climate. We will also gain new information about which meadow species that are less sensitive to ozone in Arctic conditions, to help local farmers minimize the loss of yield due to ozone.


Our goal is to develop an ozone and climate effect model that gives more accurate information and better predictions about the current and future effects of tropospheric ozone on vegetation in Northern Norway. The new model may also provide improved model results for other parts of the Northern hemisphere, especially the parts north of the Arctic Circle. The modelling of climate effects on tundra vegetation may also be improved. Tundra is present in mountainous and Northern areas in Europe, North America and Asia.
The ozone sensitivity of meadow species from Northern Norway may vary, and if so, our results may add to the information farmers may use for choosing species or cultivars suited to local conditions.


Plant and climate scientists cooperate to study the ozone concentrations of the air in Finnmark through the growth season and its effects on vegetation. In particular, effects of Arctic conditions with midnight sun will be examined, as there are indications that lack of nighttime darkness can enhance the ozone sensitivity of the plants. Plants from tundra and meadows will be studied. Further, the effect of the vegetation itself on ozone levels and climate will also be taken into account, as feedback effects from vegetation to atmospheric ozone concentration and to climate may occur.

The Finnmark vegetation may be stressed by ozone pollution, which may cause reduced plant sizes and a bias for less ozone sensitive species. At the same time, the vegetation is stressed by climate changes. Higher temperatures cause earlier snowmelt in spring, yielding a longer growth season. These different changes in plant growth conditions may lead to a shift in species composition and thus altered vegetation. Changes in vegetation may in turn cause changes to the climate, - a feedback effect that will be studied in models of future climate in these areas.


  • Estimate current and recent levels of tropospheric ozone concentrations
  • Establish ozone dose-response relationships for plants from Northern Norway
  • Day length, a key regulator factor of the ozone sensitivity of the plants
  • Modelling of ozone impacts in the current and near past atmosphere
  • Modelling combined ozone and climate change effects on vegetation
  • Demonstrate injuries to vegetation in ozone gardens



The Norwegian Research Council


Department of Geosciences (University of Oslo)

Lisa Emberson, Stockholm Environmental Institute (SEI), University of York

Snorre Hagen at NIBIO, Svanvik

Roar Haug at Finnmark Landbruksrådgivning, Alta

Tags: ozone, Climate change, agriculture
Published May 9, 2017 2:19 PM - Last modified Apr. 25, 2019 10:10 AM