Skip to main content

A study on correlations between precipitation ETCCDI and airborne pollen/fungal spore parameters in the NE Iberian Peninsula

A Correction to this article was published on 29 March 2022

This article has been updated

Abstract

Precipitation is one of the meteorological variables usually involved in the aerobiological studies, which presents a complex relationship with atmospheric levels of pollen and fungal spores and the temporal characteristics of their seasons. This complexity is due in a large part to rainfall’s twofold impact of having, prior to pollination, a positive influence on subsequent pollen production and of contributing, during pollination, to pollen removal from the air through a wash-out effect. To better explore this impact, we place particular emphasis on extreme rainfall by calculating the correlation between airborne pollen and fungal spore parameters and the precipitation indices that the Expert Team on Climate Change Detection and Indices (ETCCDI) proposed for characterising climate extremes. Parameters for twenty-seven pollen and fungal spore taxa measured in six aerobiological stations in the NE Iberian Peninsula have been considered. We have distinguished between annual and winter ETCCDI in order to compare the correlations between extreme rainfall and airborne pollen concentrations and to avoid the wash-out effect as far as possible. Results show a positive influence from an increase in moderately extreme winter rainfall, specifically on subsequent pollen/fungal spore production: the percentage of all possible significant correlations is higher for winter than for annual rainfall. Furthermore, while annual rainfall in this region has nearly the same number of positive as negative correlations, the positive correlations for winter rainfall are more than twice that of the negative ones. The seasonal consideration on rainfall ETCCDI made with the aim to avoid the confounding overlapping of different rainfall impacts has led to more sharpened observations of its positive and negative effects on airborne pollen and fungal spore concentrations.

Graphical abstract

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5

Availability of data and material

The rainfall data used to support the findings of this study were supplied by Servei Meteorològic de Catalunya (Generalitat de Catalunya) and are available by request to dades.meteocat@gencat.cat. The pollen and fungal spore data used in this study were provided by Xarxa Aerobiològica de Catalunya and are available by request to aerobiologia.pia@uab.cat.

Change history

References

Download references

Acknowledgements

The authors acknowledge the support provided by the Spanish Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities [grant numbers CTM2017-89565-C2-1, CTM2017-89565-C2-2], and thank the Servei Meteorològic of Catalunya (SMC), the Agencia Estatal de Meteorología (AEMET), and the Punt d’Informació Aerobiològica (PIA, Xarxa aerobiològica de Catalunya) for providing the rainfall, pollen, and fungal spore data used in this work. The authors also thank the anonymous referees for their constructive comments and suggestions.

Funding

This research was supported by the Spanish Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities [grant numbers CTM2017-89565-C2-1, CTM2017-89565-C2-2]. This research contributes to the “María de Maeztu” Programme for Units of Excellence of the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation (CEX2019-000940-M).

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to M. C. Casas-Castillo.

Ethics declarations

Conflicts of interest/Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no known competing financial interests or personal relationships that could have appeared to influence the work reported in this paper.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Rodríguez-Solà, R., Casas-Castillo, M.C., Zhang, J.J.H. et al. A study on correlations between precipitation ETCCDI and airborne pollen/fungal spore parameters in the NE Iberian Peninsula. Int J Biometeorol 66, 1173–1187 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00484-022-02267-5

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Revised:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00484-022-02267-5

Keywords

  • Extreme rainfall
  • Climate extremes
  • Winter rainfall
  • Wash-out effect
  • Aerobiology