Reducing air pollution could dramatically help crops, save land and money, here’s how

Increasing additional commodities isn’t the only unique option to sustain the world’s producing population. According to a recent study, reducing air emissions could help increase food yield while conserving valuable assets and resources.

How reducing air pollution will help crop harvesting

Models indicate that reducing pollution by 50% from a single type of air pollution could increase winter agricultural production by up to 28% in China and up to 10% in various regions of the globe, Science Alert reported.

The contaminants of concern are nitrogen oxides, a class of invisible toxic gases emitted from automobile exhaust pipes and fugitive emissions containing nitrous oxide.

Published under Science Advances, particulate emissions are some of the fastest-moving highly dispersed particulate pollution on the planet, and it is believed that if vegetation is subjected to increased amounts of these chemicals, their foliage can be damaged and development slowed , although researchers aren’t sure. precisely.

Simultaneously, nitrogen oxides are precursors to the development of ozone and small particles in the stratosphere, which can affect agricultural yield by attenuating radiation.

A few scientists found last year that reductions in pollution, microscopic matter, nitrogen oxides and hydrogen sulfide led to a 20% increase in corn and soybean harvests in the United States in 1999 and 2019. $5 billion in agricultural value.

#2 is one of the easiest contaminants to quantify geographically and correlate to agricultural production. When nitrogen oxides are released into the environment, they react with visible radiation in ways that spacecraft can identify.

Nitrogen dioxide is undetectable to individuals, but modern technologies have been equipped to detect it with extraordinarily high accuracy, according to Stanford University farmland ecologist David Lobell.

Because scientists can simultaneously assess agricultural production from orbit, researchers now have the ability to rapidly expand scientific understanding of how these pollutants influence agriculture in various locations, the ENVIS Plant Center said. and pollution. When scientists compared nitrogen dioxide concentrations in different parts of the planet to agricultural vegetation, they found a similar weak relationship.

Read also: The biggest plant in the world! A single seed buried off the west coast of Australia has grown

Reduce pollution concentrations for crops

The reduction in vegetation was most evident in China and for winter cereals such as cereals. Given this association, studies predict that halving nitrogen dioxide production will increase winter crop production in China by about 28%. Returns could increase by 16% during the warmer months.

According to IOP Science, in India, experts expect that reducing nitrogen dioxide levels can improve crop production by up to 8% in winter and 6% in summer. Nevertheless, summer and cold weather harvests in Western Europe could climb by 10%.

Given that flow levels normally vary by around 1% per year, the benefits of reducing atmospheric contamination could be enormous in some regions of the globe.

“The key take-home message from our research is that the economic benefits of these activities could be extremely large, enough to help alleviate the difficulty of feeding a burgeoning society,” says Jennifer Burney, an atmospheric researcher at the University of California. , San Diego.

Researchers can still understand how combustion products effectively affect photosynthetic activity; however, the present study indicates that carbon emissions are driving the decline of agriculture worldwide.

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