, Volume 18, Issue 3-4, pp 253-265

The effects of climate change on the birch pollen season in Denmark

Abstract

During the last two decades the climate inDenmark has become warmer and in climatescenarios (IPCC, 2001) it is foreseen that thetemperature will increase in the comingdecades. This predicted future increase intemperature will probably affect both theflowering of plants and the dispersion ofpollen in the air. In this study the alreadyobserved effects on the birch pollen season arestudied.Trend analyses of the birch pollen seasonfor two stations in Denmark more than 200 kmapart give similar results. In Copenhagen thereis a marked shift to an earlier season – itstarts about 14 days earlier in year 2000 thanin 1977, the peak-date is 17 days earlier andthe season-end is 9 days earlier. For Viborgthe trend to an earlier season is in generalthe same, but slightly smaller.During the same period there has also beena distinct rise in the annual-total amount ofbirch pollen, peak-values and days withconcentrations above zero.Rising mean temperatures during winter andspring can explain the calculated trends towardearlier pollen season. Models for estimation ofthe starting date based on Growing Degree Hours(GDH's) give very fine results with acorrelation coefficient around 0.90 and rmserror around 4.2 days.For annual-total there is a significantpositive correlation with the mean temperaturein the growing season the previous year.