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New US research shows pollen can change the weather

New US research shows pollen can change the weather
11 May 2024 11:16


For the past two years, researchers from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Global Systems Laboratory (GSL) have been developing the first pollen forecast of its kind in the US.

The forecast can predict both the impact of weather on pollen concentrations, and how pollen loads will influence the weather.

More than 80 million Americans suffer from seasonal allergies due to airborne pollen, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Associated medical costs exceed $3 billion every year, with nearly half of those costs linked to prescription medicine.

Pollen is an equal opportunity irritant, particularly during spring, summer and fall when wind-blown pollen from trees, grasses and weeds can be at their highest levels. Accurate pollen forecasts could help sufferers reduce their exposure the same way that they might on high ozone days.

The experimental model has been generating pollen forecasts since the summer of 2022, and performs similarly to commercial pollen forecasts. It explores connection between air quality and weather.

‘’With real-time predictions of pollen and where it is transported, people can adjust their outdoor activities, medications and take precautions to ensure their well-being,’’ said Jordan Schnell, Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) scientist working at NOAA’s Global Systems Laboratory.

“Pollen and its associated allergies are important components to people’s everyday lives,” Schnell explained. 

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