, Volume 53, Issue 4, pp 333-344
Date: 04 Apr 2009

Poaceae pollen in Galicia (N.W. Spain): characterisation and recent trends in atmospheric pollen season

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Abstract

Airborne Poaceae pollen counts are greatly influenced by weather-related parameters, but may also be governed by other factors. Poaceae pollen is responsible for most allergic reactions in the pollen-sensitive population of Galicia (Spain), and it is therefore essential to determine the risk posed by airborne pollen counts. The global climate change recorded over recent years may prompt changes in the atmospheric pollen season (APS). This survey used airborne Poaceae pollen data recorded for four Galician cities since 1993, in order to characterise the APS and note any trends in its onset, length and severity. Pollen sampling was performed using Hirst-type volumetric traps; data were subjected to Spearman’s correlation test and regression models, in order to detect possible correlations between different parameters and trends. The APS was calculated using ten different methods, in order to assess the influence of each on survey results. Finally, trends detected for the major weather-related parameters influencing pollen counts over the study period were compared with those recorded over the last 30 years. All four cities displayed a trend towards lower annual total Poaceae pollen counts, lower peak values and a smaller number of days on which counts exceeded 30, 50 and 100 pollen grains/m3. Moreover, the survey noted a trend towards delayed onset and shorter duration of the APS, although differences were observed depending on the criteria used to define the first and the last day of the APS.