Allergy sufferers are no stranger to pollen problems. But now, due to climate change, the pollen season is longer and starts earlier. Scientists report new research in the journal Frontiers.
The pollen season is longer and starts earlier than ever before. This is bad news for allergy sufferers – every year the number of days of itchy eyes and runny nose will only increase. This is because higher temperatures cause early flowering. The humification is worsened by high CO2 levels. They are responsible for generating more pollen.
According to some scientists, the pollen season has increased by as much as 20 days over the past 30 years. At least in the USA and Canada. But one important element in research on the effects of climate on allergy season is often overlooked. The fact is that scientists often do not take into account its transfer.
In a new study, a team of scientists looked at pollen transport in Bavaria, Germany to better understand how the pollen season varied over time. “Pollen transport has important implications for the length, timing and severity of the allergy season,” said Dr. Ye Yuan, study co-author.
The scientists used six pollen monitoring stations in southeast Germany, scattered across the region, to analyze the data. Their results are published in the journal Frontiers in Allergy. The researchers found that some pollen species, such as hazel and alder pollen, outpace the start of the season by two days each year for 30 years from 1987 to 2017. Other species, such as birch and ash, started their flowering season 0.5 days earlier during the same period. By the way, they belong to the late flowering species, however, they were also affected by changes.
Pollen can travel hundreds of kilometers, and as weather conditions change and species distribution changes, humans are exposed to “new” species. We are talking about pollen, which the human immune system is not used to dealing with every year.
While it can sometimes be difficult to distinguish local from transported pollen, researchers have focused on pre-season transport. So, for example, if birch pollen was present at a monitoring station, but local birches did not bloom for at least 10 days, this allergen was considered to be carried from afar.
Scientists were surprised that pollen transport in the preseason is quite common. The study authors emphasized that long-distance transport of light allergens can seriously affect the health of local populations.