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Long-range transport of beech (Fagus sylvatica L.) pollen to Catalonia (north-eastern Spain)

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Local and long-range transport of beech (Fagus sylvatica) pollen was analysed by using 23-year data (1983–2007) at six stations in Catalonia, Spain, and numerical simulations. Back trajectories and synoptic meteorology indicated a consistent north European provenance during beech pollen peak days. Specifically, the area from northern Italy to central Germany was the most probable source, as indicated by a source-receptor model based on back trajectories. For the event with the highest pollen levels (17 May 2004), back trajectories indicated a source in the Vosges (NE France) and the Schwarzwald (SW Germany) regions. By applying a mesoscale model (MM5) to this event, pollen transport could be further refined, allowing its entrance to Catalonia through the lower easternmost pass of the Pyrenees (the Alberes pass, 500 m a.s.l.) to be described. Hourly counts of Fagus pollen allowed the timing of pollen arrival during this episode to be matched with the model results regarding the above-mentioned passage. This study may help to interpret some results of modern beech genetic diversity and contribute to the understanding of paleopalynological records by taking long-range transport into consideration.

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This research was supported financially by the project CGL 2005–07543-Origen, transporte y deposición del aerosol atmosférico africano en Canarias y la Península Ibérica a partir de su caracterización aerobiológica y química. It has benefited from data from the Aerobiological Network of Catalonia (Xarxa Aerobiològica de Catalunya), which is supported by Laboratorios Leti, S.L. and the Govern de Catalunya (projects 2002SGR00059 and 2005SGR00519). We also thank our colleagues Pedro Arnau, Miquel Ninyerola, Joan M. Roure and Rebeca Izquierdo for help in manuscript preparation.

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Correspondence to A. Avila.

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Belmonte, J., Alarcón, M., Avila, A. et al. Long-range transport of beech (Fagus sylvatica L.) pollen to Catalonia (north-eastern Spain). Int J Biometeorol 52, 675–687 (2008).

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