Intradiurnal patterns of allergenic airborne pollen near a city motorway in Berlin, Germany

Abstract

In this study, the seasonally averaged intradiurnal patterns of four different pollen types (Fraxinus, Betula, Poaceae and Artemisia) and the role of traffic volume, air pollution and selected weather parameters were investigated. Measurements were carried out with a 7-day recording volumetric spore trap (Hirst type) near a congested city motorway (the A 100) in Berlin, Germany, in 2012, 2013 and partly 2011. Both Poaceae and Artemisia pollen showed distinct patterns which were similar across the years. The main period of grass pollen concentrations in the air was from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. with peaks about midday or in the afternoon. Mugwort pollen mainly occurred between 6 a.m. and 2 p.m. with a clear maximum from 8 to 10 a.m. With regard to Fraxinus and Betula pollen, the patterns were not as clear and showed differences throughout the years. The intradiurnal patterns of traffic volume and pollen load, mainly of Poaceae in the afternoon and Artemisia in the morning, were partly coincident. The combination of both a high pollen count and air pollution, due to exhaust emissions, represents a special health threat which could result in a double burden for allergy sufferers. In the case of the daily means of Betula and Poaceae, relative humidity had a significantly negative effect on pollen concentrations on the same and/or next day/s, sunshine duration (Poaceae) and air temperature (Artemisia) a positive one.

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Acknowledgments

The authors are grateful to the Traffic Management Centre Berlin (VMZ), Germany, for providing the traffic data free of charge and to the Department of Environmental Hygiene of the Federal Environment Agency, Berlin, Germany, for the possibility to use the monitoring site near the city motorway A 100.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Correspondence to Anke Simoleit.

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Simoleit, A., Gauger, U., Mücke, HG. et al. Intradiurnal patterns of allergenic airborne pollen near a city motorway in Berlin, Germany. Aerobiologia 32, 199–209 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10453-015-9390-6

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Keywords

  • Pollen
  • Intradiurnal patterns
  • Large city
  • City motorway
  • Traffic volume
  • Air pollution