A systematic review of the effects of temperature and precipitation on pollen concentrations and season timing, and implications for human health

P. J. Schramm, C. L. Brown, S. Saha, K. C. Conlon, A. P. Manangan, J. E. Bell, J. J. Hess

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Climate and weather directly impact plant phenology, affecting airborne pollen. The objective of this systematic review is to examine the impacts of meteorological variables on airborne pollen concentrations and pollen season timing. Using PRISMA methodology, we reviewed literature that assessed whether there was a relationship between local temperature and precipitation and measured airborne pollen. The search strategy included terms related to pollen, trends or measurements, and season timing. For inclusion, studies must have conducted a correlation analysis of at least 5 years of airborne pollen data to local meteorological data and report quantitative results. Data from peer-reviewed articles were extracted on the correlations between seven pollen indicators (main pollen season start date, end date, peak date, and length, annual pollen integral, average daily pollen concentration, and peak pollen concentration), and two meteorological variables (temperature and precipitation). Ninety-three articles were included in the analysis out of 9,679 articles screened. Overall, warmer temperatures correlated with earlier and longer pollen seasons and higher pollen concentrations. Precipitation had varying effects on pollen concentration and pollen season timing indicators. Increased precipitation may have a short-term effect causing low pollen concentrations potentially due to “wash out” effect. Long-term effects of precipitation varied for trees and weeds and had a positive correlation with grass pollen levels. With increases in temperature due to climate change, pollen seasons for some taxa in some regions may start earlier, last longer, and be more intense, which may be associated with adverse health impacts, as pollen exposure has well-known health effects in sensitized individuals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1615-1628
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Biometeorology
Volume65
Issue number10
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

Keywords

  • Aeroallergens
  • Climate
  • Meteorology
  • Pollen
  • Precipitation
  • Temperature

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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