, Volume 48, Issue 4, pp 172-178
Date: 02 Mar 2004

Atmospheric Poaceae pollen frequencies and associations with meteorological parameters in Brisbane, Australia: a 5-year record, 1994–1999

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Grass pollen is an important risk factor for allergic rhinitis and asthma in Australia and is the most prevalent pollen component of the aerospora of Brisbane, accounting for 71.6% of the annual airborne pollen load. A 5-year (June 1994–May 1999) monitoring program shows the grass pollen season to occur during the summer and autumn months (December–April), however the timing of onset and intensity of the season vary from year to year. During the pollen season, Poaceae counts exceeding 30 grains m–3 were recorded on 244 days and coincided with maximum temperatures of 28.1 ± 2.0 °C. In this study, statistical associations between atmospheric grass pollen loads and several weather parameters, including maximum temperature, minimum temperature and precipitation, were investigated. Spearman’s correlation analysis demonstrated that daily grass pollen counts were positively associated (P < 0.0001) with maximum and minimum temperature during each sampling year. Precipitation, although considered a less important daily factor (P < 0.05), was observed to remove pollen grains from the atmosphere during significant periods of rainfall. This study provides the first insight into the influence of meteorological variables, in particular temperature, on atmospheric Poaceae pollen counts in Brisbane. An awareness of these associations is critical for the prevention and management of allergy and asthma for atopic individuals within this region.