Skip to main content


Log in

Transport of airborne pollen into the city of Thessaloniki: the effects of wind direction, speed and persistence

  • Original Article
  • Published:
International Journal of Biometeorology Aims and scope Submit manuscript


We examined the effect of the wind vector analyzed into its three components (direction, speed and persistence), on the circulation of pollen from different plant taxa prominent in the Thessaloniki area for a 4-year period (1996–1999). These plant taxa were Ambrosia spp., Artemisia spp., Chenopodiaceae, Corylus spp., Cupressaceae, Olea europaea, Pinaceae, Platanus spp., Poaceae, Populus spp., Quercus spp., and Urticaceae. Airborne pollen of Cupressaceae, Urticaceae, Quercus spp. and O. europaea make up approximately 70% of the total average annual pollen counts. The set of data that we worked with represented days without precipitation and time intervals during which winds blew from the same direction for at least 4 consecutive hours. We did this in order to study the effect of the different wind components independently of precipitation, and to avoid secondary effects produced by pollen resuspension phenomena. Factorial regression analysis among the summed bi-hourly pollen counts for each taxon and the values of wind speed and persistence per wind direction gave significant results in 22 cases (combinations of plant taxa and wind directions). The pollen concentrations of all taxa correlated significantly with at least one of the three wind components. In seven out of the 22 taxon-wind direction combinations, the pollen counts correlated positively with wind persistence, whereas this was the case for only two of the taxon-wind speed combinations. In seven cases, pollen counts correlated with the interaction effect of wind speed and persistence. This shows the importance of wind persistence in pollen transport, particularly when weak winds prevail for a considerable part of the year, as is the case for Thessaloniki. Medium/long-distance pollen transport was evidenced for Olea (NW, SW directions), Corylus (NW, SW), Poaceae (SW) and Populus (NW).

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Subscribe and save

Springer+ Basic
EUR 32.99 /Month
  • Get 10 units per month
  • Download Article/Chapter or Ebook
  • 1 Unit = 1 Article or 1 Chapter
  • Cancel anytime
Subscribe now

Buy Now

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2

Similar content being viewed by others


  • Adams-Groom B, Emberlin J, Corden J, Millington W, Mullins J (2002) Predicting the start of the birch pollen season at London, Derby and Cardiff, United Kingdom, using a multiple regression model, based on data from 1987 to 1997. Aerobiologia 18:117–123

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Alba F, De la Guardia CD, Comtois P (2000) The effect of meteorological parameters on diurnal patterns of airborne olive pollen concentration. Grana 39:200–208

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Athanasiadis N (1986) Forest botany (trees and bushes of Greek forests), part II. Yahoudi-Yapouli, Thessaloniki

    Google Scholar 

  • Campbell ID, McDonald K, Flannigan MD, Kringayark J (1999) Long-distance transport of pollen into the Arctic. Nature 399:29–30

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Cour P, Zheng Z, Duzer D, Calleja M, Yao Z (1999) Vegetational and climatic significance of modern pollen rain in northwestern Tibet. Rev Paleobot Palynol 104:183–204

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Dafis S, Papastergiadou E, Georgiou K, Babalonas D, Georgiadis TH, Papageorgiou M, Lazaridou TH, Tsiaousi V (1997) Habitat directive in Greece: Network NATURA 2000 (92/43/EEC). Contract No. B4-3200/84/756, General Directorate of the XI Committee of European Communities, Goulandris Natural History Museum—Hellenic Centre of Habitats/Wetlands

    Google Scholar 

  • Flokas AA (1994) Lectures of meteorology and climatology. Ziti, Thessaloniki

    Google Scholar 

  • Gioulekas D, Damialis A, Papakosta D, Syrigou A, Mpaka G, Saxoni F, Patakas D (2003) 15-year aeroallergen records. Their usefulness in Athens Olympics, 2004. Allergy 58:933–938

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Gioulekas D, Balafoutis C, Damialis A, Papakosta D, Gioulekas G, Patakas D (2004) Fifteen-year records of airborne allergenic pollen and meteorological parameters in Thessaloniki, Greece. Int J Biometeorol 48:128–136

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Heristanidis S (2001) Study of the effect of grazing in suburban areas of Thessaloniki by use of Geographical Information Systems (GIS). Dissertation (in Greek with English summary), Aristotle University, Thessaloniki

  • Hjelmroos M (1991) Evidence of long-distance transport of Betula pollen. Grana 30:215–228

    Google Scholar 

  • Karagiannakidou V, Raus T (1996) Vascular plants from mount Chortiatis (Macedonia, Greece). Willdenowia 25:487–559

    Google Scholar 

  • Keynan N, Waisel Y, Shomerilan A, Goren A, Brener S (1991) Annual variations of airborne pollen in the coastal plain of Israel. Grana 30:477–480

    Google Scholar 

  • Krigas N, Lagiou E, Hanlidou E, Kokkini S (1999) The vascular flora of the Byzantine Walls of Thessaloniki (North Greece). Willdenowia 29:77–94

    Google Scholar 

  • Laaidi K (2001) Predicting days of high allergenic risk during Betula pollination using weather types. Int J Biometeorol 45:124–132

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Laaidi M, Thibaudon M, Besancenot JP (2003) Two statistical approaches to forecasting the start and duration of the pollen season of Ambrosia in the area of Lyon (France). Int J Biometeorol 48:65–73

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Mandrioli P (1990) Aerobiology-pollen sampling, influence of climate, pollen sources and pollen calendar. In: Falagiani P (ed) Pollinosis. CRC, USA, pp 39–53

    Google Scholar 

  • Munuera Giner M, Garcia JSC, Selles JG (1999) Aerobiology of Artemisia airborne pollen in Murcia (SE Spain) and its relationship with weather variables: annual and intradiurnal variations for three different species. Wind vectors as a toll in determining pollen. Int J Biometeorol 43:51–63

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Munuera Giner M, Carrion Garcia JS, Navarro Camacho C (2002) Seasonal fluctuations of the airborne pollen spectrum in Murcia (SE Spain). Aerobiologia 18:141–151

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Observations météorologiques de Thessaloniki 1996–1999 (1997–2000) Annu Inst Météorol Climatol 65–68, (in French) University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki

  • Rantio-Lehtimäki A (1994) Short, medium and long range transported airborne particles in viability and antigenicity analyses. Aerobiologia 10:175–181

    Google Scholar 

  • Silva-Palacios I, Tormo-Molina R, Munoz-Rodriguez AF (2000) Influence of wind direction on pollen concentration in the atmosphere. Int J Biometeorol 44:128–133

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Solomon WR (1984) Aerobiology of pollinosis. J Allergy Clin Immunol 74:449–461

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Solomon WR, Mathews KP (1978) Aerobiology and inhalant allergens. In: Middleton E, Reed CE, Ellis EF (eds) Allergy principles and practice, vol 2. Mosby, St. Louis

    Google Scholar 

  • Spanos I (1997) Reforestation methods of the Park Forest in Thessaloniki, after the large fire in July 1997. Geotechn Info 100:30–34

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Stix E (1975) Pollen and spore content of air during autumn above Atlantic ocean. Oecologia 18:235–242

    Google Scholar 

  • Van de Water PK, Keever T, Main CE, Levetin E (2003) An assessment of predictive forecasting of Juniperus ashei pollen movement in the Southern Great Plains, USA. Int J Biometeorol 48:74–82

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Vazquez LM, Galan C, Dominguez-Vilches E (2003) Influence of meteorological parameters on Olea pollen concentrations in Cordoba (South-western Spain). Int J Biometeorol 48:83–90

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Zar JH (1999) Biostatistical analysis, 4th edn. Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Athanasios Damialis.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Damialis, A., Gioulekas, D., Lazopoulou, C. et al. Transport of airborne pollen into the city of Thessaloniki: the effects of wind direction, speed and persistence. Int J Biometeorol 49, 139–145 (2005).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Revised:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: