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
Recent changes in weather in North-West Europehave been reflected in the start dates ofpollen seasons. It is therefore necessary toupdate previous models, such as the oneproduced by Jones (1995), so that the modelwill be weighted by current weather patterns. Birch pollen data, collected over a period ofeleven years (1987 to 1997 inclusive) fromthree pollen counting stations in the UK,London, Derby and Cardiff, were analysed todetermine the start dates using the Sum75method. The start dates of the birch pollenseasons of the eleven-year period were thentested for significance against ten-dayaggregated variables of temperature andrainfall for each site. The significantvariables were entered into multiple regressionmodels until the most valid equation for eachsite was found. The models were then tested onthree years not included in their data sets. The models showed mean differences betweenactual and predicted start dates, for theeleven years used, of 1.5, 3 and 5 days atDerby, Cardiff and London respectively. Forthe test years the mean difference was 1, 4.5and 7.5 days at Derby, Cardiff and Londonrespectively. The most powerful model was forDerby where the corresponding meteorologicalstation is at 0.5 km distance and the weakestwas for London where the correspondingmeteorological station is much further away at21 km distance. Weather variables from earlyFebruary to mid March were found to be the mostinfluential on the start dates of the birchpollen season at the three sites.
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