Comparison of Poaceae pollen counts recorded at sites in Portugal, Spain and the UK
The main aim of this study was to analyse the temporal and spatial variations in grass (Poaceae) pollen counts (2005–2011) recorded in Évora (Portugal), Badajoz (Spain) and Worcester (UK). Weekly average data were examined using nonparametric statistics to compare differences between places. On average, Évora recorded the earliest start dates of the Poaceae pollen seasons and Worcester the latest. The intensity of the Poaceae pollen season varied between sites, with Worcester usually recording the least and Évora the most grass pollen in a season. Mean durations of grass pollen seasons were 77 days in Évora, 78 days in Badajoz and 59 days in Worcester. Overall, longer Poaceae pollen seasons coincided with earlier pollen season start dates. Weekly pollen data, from March to September, from the three pollen-monitoring stations studied were compared. The best fit and most statistically significant correlations were obtained by moving Worcester data backward by 4 weeks (Évora, r = 0.810, p < 0.001) and 5 weeks (Badajoz, r = 0.849, p < 0.001). Weekly data from Worcester therefore followed a similar pattern to that of Badajoz and Évora but at a distance of more than 1,500 km and 4–5 weeks later. The sum of pollen recorded in a season was compared with monthly rainfall between January and May. The strongest positive relationship between season intensity and rainfall was between the annual sum of Poaceae pollen recorded in the season at Badajoz and Évora and total rainfall during January and February. Winter rainfall noticeably affects the intensity of Poaceae pollen seasons in Mediterranean areas, but this was not as important in Worcester.
KeywordsAerobiology Biogeography Biometeorology Grass pollen season
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