The duration and severity of the allergenic pollen season in Istanbul, and the role of meteorological factors
SubjectAllergenic pollen seasons
Generalized additive models
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Information on the allergenic pollen season provides insight on the state of the environment of a region and facilitates allergy symptom management. We present a retrospective analysis of the duration and severity of the allergenic pollen season and the role of meteorological factors in Istanbul, Turkey. Aerobiological sampling from January 2013 to June 2016, pollen identification and counting followed current standard methodology. Pollen seasons were defined according to 95% of the Annual Pollen Integral (APIn) and the season start date was compared with the first day of 5 day consecutive non-zero records. Generalized additive models (GAMs) were created to study the effect of meteorological factors on flowering. The main pollen contributors were taxa of temperate and Mediterranean climates, and neophytic Ambrosia. Cupressaceae, Poaceae, Pinaceae, Quercus and Ambrosia had the greatest relative abundance. The pollen season defined on 95% of the APIn was adequate for our location with total APIns around 10.000 pollen*day*m−3. Woody taxa had generally shorter seasons than herbaceous taxa. In trees, we see precipitation as the main limiting factor for assimilate production prior to anthesis. A severe tree pollen season in 2016 suggests intense synchronous flowering across taxa and populations triggered by favourable water supply in the preceding year. GAM models can explain the effect of weather on pollen concentrations during anthesis. Under the climatic conditions over the study period, temperature had a negative effect on spring flowering trees, and a positive one on summer flowering weeds. Humidity, atmospheric pressure and precipitation had a negative effect on weeds. Our findings contribute to environmental and allergological knowledge in southern Europe and Turkey with relevancy in the assessment of impacts of climate change and the management of allergic disease.