, Volume 25, Issue 4, pp 321-332
Date: 19 Sep 2009

Influence of the North Atlantic Oscillation on grass pollen counts in Europe

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Abstract

Relationships between temporal variations in the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) and grass pollen counts at 13 sites in Europe, ranging from Córdoba in the south-west and Turku in the north-east, were studied in order to determine spatial differences in the amount of influence exerted by the NAO on the timing and magnitude of grass pollen seasons. There were a number of significant (P < 0.05) relationships between the NAO and start dates of the grass pollen season at the 13 pollen-monitoring sites. The strongest associations were generally recorded near to the Atlantic coast. Several significant correlations also existed between winter averages of the NAO and grass pollen season severity. Traditional methods for predicting the start or magnitude of grass pollen seasons have centred on the use of local meteorological observations, but this study has shown the importance of considering large-scale patterns of climate variability like the NAO.