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Pollen content study of the lower atmosphere in León (Spain) by use of a tethered balloon

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This study was undertaken in order to understand thebehaviour of airborne pollen grains, namely therelationship between their concentrations andconcomitant meteorological parameters, at differentaltitudes (ground level, 200, 400 and 600 m) of thelower atmosphere and its daily variations over onesite (the experimental farm of the University ofLeón). The experimental design involved a tetheredballoon (2.25 m3), an ADAS remote meteorologicalstation and an original radio controlled three headedpollen and spore sampler (called GABIS) using theRotorod design. Each head sampled a differentaltitude, while two control samples were taken atground level. Twenty-one takeoffs could be realized inthe 5 weeks period between end of May and end of June1997. Sampling was done early in the morning and sampling time at each altitudewas of 15 minutes. Results show that 45 differenttypes of pollen grains could be collected at this timeof the year and that significant variations could beobserved in the behaviour of the pollen cloud on a dayto day basis, probably because of differentmeteorological situations. Contrary to what isgenerally believed, pollen was in most cases moreabundant at higher altitude – on average by 30% ascompared to ground level – making evident anaerobiological layer of transport at about 500 m aboveground. This was especially the case for trees (Quercus and Castanea). The atmosphere MixingRatio was the most explicative factor at 200 m, whiletemperature dominated significance analysis at both400 and 600 m.

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Correspondence to Delia Fernández-González.

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Comtois, P., Fernández-González, D., Valencia-Barrera, R.M. et al. Pollen content study of the lower atmosphere in León (Spain) by use of a tethered balloon. Aerobiologia 16, 187–191 (2000).

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