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Identification of potential sources of airborne Olea pollen in the Southwest Iberian Peninsula

Abstract

This study aims to determine the potential origin of Olea pollen recorded in Badajoz in the Southwest of the Iberian Peninsula during 2009–2011. This was achieved using a combination of daily average and diurnal (hourly) airborne Olea pollen counts recorded at Badajoz (south-western Spain) and Évora (south-eastern Portugal), an inventory of olive groves in the studied area and air mass trajectory calculations computed using the HYSPLIT model. Examining olive pollen episodes at Badajoz that had distinctly different diurnal cycles in olive pollen in relation to the mean, allowed us to identify three different scenarios where olive pollen can be transported to the city from either distant or nearby sources during conditions with slow air mass movements. Back trajectory analysis showed that olive pollen can be transported to Badajoz from the West on prevailing winds, either directly or on slow moving air masses, and from high densities of olive groves situated to the Southeast (e.g. Andalucía). Regional scale transport of olive pollen can result in increased nighttime concentrations of this important aeroallergen. This could be particularly important in Mediterranean countries where people can be outdoors during this time due to climate and lifestyle. Such studies that examine sources and the atmospheric transport of pollen are valuable for allergy sufferers and health care professionals because the information can be incorporated into forecasts, the outputs of which are used for avoiding exposure to aeroallergens and planning medication. The results of studies of this nature can also be used for examining gene flow in this important agricultural crop.

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Acknowledgements

This work was made possible by the research projects PRI06A190, PRI BS10008 financed by the Regional Government, Junta de Extremadura (Spain) and the European Social Fund. This work was also partly funded by the Villum-Kann Rasmussen Foundation through a post-doctoral grant to C.A.S. The authors thanks the Portuguese Soc. Allergology Clin. Immunology for their permission to use Olea pollen data from Évora.

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Correspondence to Santiago Fernández-Rodríguez.

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Fernández-Rodríguez, S., Skjøth, C.A., Tormo-Molina, R. et al. Identification of potential sources of airborne Olea pollen in the Southwest Iberian Peninsula. Int J Biometeorol 58, 337–348 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00484-012-0629-4

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00484-012-0629-4

Keywords

  • Olive
  • Aerobiology
  • Back-trajectory
  • Synoptic conditions
  • HYSPLIT model
  • Spain
  • Portugal