25 April 2023
If your pollen allergies have gotten worse there’s a good reason for it. A study of North American pollen trends in the last 30 years, led by William R. L. Anderegg, found that pollen season is starting earlier, lasting longer and has higher pollen counts than in the 1990s because of climate change.
Yale Climate Connections reports “In Anderegg’s research on pollen in North America, he saw pollen seasons starting about 20 days earlier than they did in the 1990s” and pollen concentrations increased by 21%. The higher temperatures and carbon dioxide in today’s atmosphere make plants more productive and allergies worse.
Right now in Pittsburgh we are at the height of pollen season. Recurring hot weather, 15+ degrees above normal, caused the oaks to bloom early and pollen so intense that my car turned yellow while parked at Anderson Playground for just an hour last Friday.
Allergy sufferers get a double whammy here because the pollen is added to Pittsburgh’s poor air quality making it particularly dangerous for children and people with asthma and respiratory illness.
So, no, you’re not imagining it. Pollen season in North America is bad and is still getting worse.
Scientists predict that average pollen counts in 2040 will be more than double what they were in 2000.— Allergies and climate Change, Harvard School of Public Health
Track the pollen count and get the daily forecast at pollen.com.
(photos by Kate St. John and from Wikimedia Commons. Screenshot from pollen.com)