Ozone concentrations are generally considerably lower over northern Europe as compared with continental and southern Europe. However, ozone becomes toxic for vegetation mainly after it has been taken up into the leaf interior through the stomata. The rates of ozone uptake into the leaves are, somewhat simplified, the product of the air ozone concentrations and the degree of stomatal opening. The phytotoxic impacts of ozone can be almost as important in northern Europe as they are in continental and southern Europe. The long daylight hours as well as the rather humid environment conditions, both in the air and soil, promote stomatal openings in northern Europe. This article summarizes scientific evidence that supports the conclusion that ozone abatement policies regarding vegetation in Europe, as well as in the rest of the world, should be based on estimates of the leaf ozone uptake and not only on the ozone concentration in the air.
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Vol. 38 • No. 8