Submitted to: Ecological Society of America Proceedings
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: August 7, 2002
Publication Date: N/A
To evaluate the impact of climate change on plant species that affect public health, we tested whether urbanization provided stable increases in carbon dioxide concentration and/or air temperature that could be used to monitor the in situ response of common ragweed, the principle Fall allergen. For 2000 and 2001, average daily (24 h) values of carbon dioxide concentration and air temperature within the urban environment were about 30 and 31% and 1.8-2.0 oC (3.4-3.6 oF) higher relative to the rural site. Ragweed at urban locations grew faster, flowered earlier and produced significantly greater above ground biomass and ragweed pollen relative to the rural location. These data indicate that regional, urban-induced climatic change may already have public health consequences; and suggests that urbanization per se, may provide a low-cost alternative to current experimental methodologies evaluating plant responses to climate change.