University of Worcester Worcester Research and Publications

Pollen season trends as markers of climate change impact: Betula, Quercus and Poaceae

Adams-Groom, Beverley ORCID:, Selby, K., Derrett, S., Frisk, Carl ORCID:, Pashley, C. H., Satchwell, J., King, D., McKenzie, G. and Neilson, R. (2022) Pollen season trends as markers of climate change impact: Betula, Quercus and Poaceae. Science of the Total Environment, 831 (154882). ISSN Print: 0048-9697 Online: 1879-1026

[img] Text
S0048969722019751_via=ihub - Published Version
Restricted to Repository staff only

Download (111kB) | Request a copy
Text (Open Access article)
1-s2.0-S0048969722019751-main.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

Download (3MB) | Preview


The incidences of respiratory allergies are at an all-time high. Pollen aeroallergens can reflect changing climate, with recent studies in Europe showing some, but not all, pollen types are increasing in severity, season duration and experiencing an earlier onset. This study aimed to identify pollen trends in the UK over the last twenty-six years for a range of pollen sites, with a focus on the key pollen types of Poaceae (grass), Betula (birch) and Quercus (oak) and to examine the relationship of these trends with meteorological factors.

Betula pollen seasons show no significant trends for onset, first high day or duration but increasing pollen production in the Midlands region of the UK is being driven by warmer temperatures in the previous June and July. Quercus pollen seasons are starting earlier, due to increasing temperature and sunshine totals in April, but are not becoming more severe. The seasons are lasting longer, although no significant climate drivers for this were identified. The first high day of the Poaceae pollen season is occurring earlier in central UK regions due to an increasing trend for all temperature variables in the previous December, January, April, May and June. Severity and duration of the season show no significant trends and are spatially and temporally variable.

Important changes are occurring in the UK pollen seasons that will impact on the health of respiratory allergy sufferers, with more severe Betula pollen seasons and longer Quercus pollen seasons. Most of the changes identified were caused by climate drivers of increasing temperature and sunshine total. However, Poaceae pollen seasons are neither becoming more severe nor longer. The reasons for this included a lack of change in some monthly meteorological variables, or land-use change, such as grassland being replaced by urban areas or woodland.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information:

This article is available under the Creative Commons CC-BY-NC-ND license and permits non-commercial use of the work as published, without adaptation or alteration provided the work is fully attributed.

This research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors. Dr. Pashley is supported by the Midlands Asthma and Allergy Research Association (MAARA), the NIHR Leicester Biomedical Research Centre, and the Health Protection Research Unit in Environmental Exposures and Health, a partnership between the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), the Health and Safety Executive and the University of Leicester. The views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the National Health Service (NHS) the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), UKHSA, the Health and Safety Executive or the Department of Health and Social Care. The James Hutton Institute received financial support from Scottish Government Rural and Environment Science and Analytical Services (RESAS) under Underpinning National Capacity (S400007-00).

Uncontrolled Discrete Keywords: Aeroallergens, Seasonal respiratory allergy, United Kingdom
Subjects: Q Science > Q Science (General)
Divisions: College of Health, Life and Environmental Sciences > School of Science and the Environment
Related URLs:
Copyright Info: © 2022 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V.
Depositing User: Dr Beverley Adams-Groom
Date Deposited: 19 Apr 2022 12:39
Last Modified: 19 Apr 2022 12:39

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item
Worcester Research and Publications is powered by EPrints 3 which is developed by the School of Electronics and Computer Science at the University of Southampton. More information and software credits.