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Aerobiology Research Weblog - New Allergy season- what are we to expect
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New Allergy season- what are we to expect 
This is a new season for pollen and mold allergies. One must wonder what to expect and if anyone can tell us what kind of a season it's going to be. Well we can give an educated guess and one could be right or wrong. Generally I figure one might not be right.

We have done many years of research to try and predict if this is going to be a high season for the tree pollen. We have not even tried for the mold spores. We have had some success in being able to see some relationship between weather and high or low seasons. Part of the difficulty is that not all trees react the same to weather. Also trees are affected several times in the year where the amount of pollen available will depend on what the weather is doing.

In the summer months, when the trees are producing their pollen reserves for next year, many things can affect how much is produced by the trees. A hot dry summer will create a situation completely different from a cool wet summer and each type of tree will also react differently to the weather. So the maple trees will react differently from the oak trees etc.

The next time the weather has a profound affect on how much pollen will be left on the trees in the spring is what kind of winter we will have. I am assuming that a winter with lots of snow, to protect the trees, might be a positive event for them to protect their pollen reserves that are already on the trees for spring. If we get freezing rain and it knocks off some of the pollen reserves from the trees well that is going to create a situation where less pollen will be available in the spring.

The next factor is what kind of spring we have. If we have a stretch of warm weather and the trees have been fooled into preparing to release their pollen and if this is followed by a long enough stretch of cold weather this will also have a profound affect on the ability for the trees to release much pollen.

The more obvious weather events that affect pollen release is when the trees are already pollinating. A great deal of rain will often knock off the pollen from the trees. This will mean that the tree will have fewer catkins on them and less pollen to be released in the air. Again a cold snap after the pollen season has begun will also have an affect on the level of pollen released by the trees.

This is a very complex system and putting it together to be able to say what kind of a pollen season we are going to have is really difficult. Mother nature is hard to understand.

Also this field of Aerobiology and the study of pollen and fungal spores in the outdoor air is really in it's infancy and not really taken seriously enough.

Now for the spores. Lots of dead material from the trees and grasses and you have lots of fungal spores. Rain and fog really have a profound affect on lower their levels in the air. Rain washes out pollen and fungal spores. However some types of fungal spores really like it after a good rain storm and are very abundant. Other fungal spores, like Cladosporium, like the hot dry weather.

I hope this helps people somewhat and when they hear somebody in the news say this is going to be the worst allergy season that this is not to be taken seriously. It's a science that is hard to understand and one cannot say anything about what type of season we are going to have unless they have data and have done many years of research.

Enjoy and have a good allergy season. I mean that in the kindest way

Frances


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