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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Ragweed, Rising C02 and Public Health

Author
item Ziska, Lewis

Submitted to: Global Climate Change Conference Proceedings
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: July 11, 2001
Publication Date: N/A

Technical Abstract: While numerous data on the plant response to raising carbon dioxide (CO2) and/or temperature have been elucidated, little is known regarding the response of allergy-inducing plants such as ragweed. We investigated changes in the growth and physiology of common ragweed from pre industrial CO2 concentrations of 280 ppm to a projected concentration of 600 ppm. Data are derived from two sources: Controlled environment chambers and outdoor city and country transect which mimics higher temperatures and higher CO2 concentrations associated with climate change. Data from controlled environment studies indicated an increase in potential pollen production of 131 percent from pre industrial levels to current CO2 values and an 80 percent increase from current CO2 to a projected value of 600 ppm CO2. Data from the city and country transect demonstrated a significant increase in growing degree days and CO2 concentration from rural to urban sites, with a concomitant increase in ragweed growth and pollen production. These results suggest that a direct effect of CO2 and/or temperature on undesirable plant species that impact human health should be of international concern.

Last Modified: 4/20/2014