Skip to main content
eScholarship
Open Access Publications from the University of California

UC Merced

UC Merced Previously Published Works bannerUC Merced

Anthropogenic climate change is worsening North American pollen seasons.

  • Author(s): Anderegg, William RL;
  • Abatzoglou, John T;
  • Anderegg, Leander DL;
  • Bielory, Leonard;
  • Kinney, Patrick L;
  • Ziska, Lewis
  • et al.
Abstract

Airborne pollen has major respiratory health impacts and anthropogenic climate change may increase pollen concentrations and extend pollen seasons. While greenhouse and field studies indicate that pollen concentrations are correlated with temperature, a formal detection and attribution of the role of anthropogenic climate change in continental pollen seasons is urgently needed. Here, we use long-term pollen data from 60 North American stations from 1990 to 2018, spanning 821 site-years of data, and Earth system model simulations to quantify the role of human-caused climate change in continental patterns in pollen concentrations. We find widespread advances and lengthening of pollen seasons (+20 d) and increases in pollen concentrations (+21%) across North America, which are strongly coupled to observed warming. Human forcing of the climate system contributed ∼50% (interquartile range: 19-84%) of the trend in pollen seasons and ∼8% (4-14%) of the trend in pollen concentrations. Our results reveal that anthropogenic climate change has already exacerbated pollen seasons in the past three decades with attendant deleterious effects on respiratory health.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC's open access policies. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View