, Volume 48, Issue 3, pp 128-136
Date: 19 Sep 2003

Fifteen years' record of airborne allergenic pollen and meteorological parameters in Thessaloniki, Greece

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Abstract.

A pollen calendar has been constructed for the area of Thessaloniki and relationships between pollen transport and meteorological parameters have been assessed. Daily airborne pollen records were collected over a 15-year period (1987–2001), using a Burkard continuous volumetric pollen trap, located in the centre of the city. Sixteen allergenic pollen types were identified. Simultaneously, daily records of five main meteorological parameters (mean air temperature, relative humidity, rainfall, sunshine, wind speed) were made, and then correlated with fluctuations of the airborne pollen concentrations. For the first time in Greece, a pollen calendar has been constructed for 16 pollen types, from which it appears that 24.9% of the total pollen recorded belong to Cupressaceae, 20.8% to Quercus spp., 13.6% to Urticaceae, 9.1% to Oleaceae, 8.9% to Pinaceae, 6.3% to Poaceae, 5.4% to Platanaceae, 3.0% to Corylus spp., 2.5% to Chenopodiaceae and 1.4% to Populus spp. The percentages of Betula spp., Asteraceae (Artemisia spp. and Ambrosia spp.), Salix spp., Ulmaceae and Alnus spp. were each lower than 1%. A positive correlation between pollen transport and both mean temperature and sunshine was observed, whereas usually no correlation was found between pollen and relative humidity or rainfall. Finally, wind speed was generally found to have a significant positive correlation with the concentrations of 8 pollen types. For the first time in the area of Thessaloniki, and more generally in Greece, 15-year allergenic pollen records have been collected and meteorological parameters have been recorded. The airborne pollen concentration is strongly influenced by mean air temperature and sunshine duration. The highest concentrations of pollen grains are observed during spring (May).