Original Paper

Aerobiologia

, Volume 25, Issue 4, pp 321-332

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

  • Matt SmithAffiliated withNational Pollen and Aerobiology Research Unit, University of WorcesterLaboratory of Aeropalynology, Adam Mickiewicz University Email author 
  • , Jean EmberlinAffiliated withNational Pollen and Aerobiology Research Unit, University of Worcester
  • , Alicja StachAffiliated withLaboratory of Aeropalynology, Adam Mickiewicz University
  • , Auli Rantio-LehtimäkiAffiliated withAerobiology Unit, University of Turku
  • , Eric CaultonAffiliated withScottish Centre for Pollen Studies, Napier University
  • , Michel ThibaudonAffiliated withRéseau National de Surveillance Aerobiologique
  • , Charlotte SindtAffiliated withRéseau National de Surveillance Aerobiologique
  • , Siegfried JägerAffiliated withHNO Klinik
  • , Regula GehrigAffiliated withSwiss Pollen Network, Federal Office of Meteorology and Climatology (MeteoSwiss)
    • , Giuseppe FrenguelliAffiliated withDepartment of Plant Biology, University of Perugia
    • , Victoria JatoAffiliated withDepartment of Plant Biology and Soil Sciences, University of Vigo
    • , F. Javier Rodríguez RajoAffiliated withDepartment of Plant Biology and Soil Sciences, University of Vigo
    • , Purificación AlcázarAffiliated withNational Pollen and Aerobiology Research Unit, University of WorcesterDepartment of Plant Biology, University of Córdoba
    • , Carmen GalánAffiliated withNational Pollen and Aerobiology Research Unit, University of WorcesterDepartment of Plant Biology, University of Córdoba

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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.

Keywords

North Atlantic Oscillation Grass pollen Cluster analysis Phenology Aerobiology Latitude