Experts say pollen is already airborne due to warm winter

Spring blossom.
Spring blossom. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

The concentration of airborne pollen has already exceeded the thresholds for allergy sufferers due to the unusually warm winter.

Mart Vill, an air monitoring specialist at the Estonian Environmental Research Center told ERR: "The pollen measurements show that the first airborne pollinators flourish and the levels are quite high at times." 

He said on Sunday in Tallinn, algal pollen concentrations were measured, on average, at 97 particles per cubic meter in 24 hours and hazel pollen at 22 particles. In Tartu, alder pollen levels rose on Sunday, measuring 112 particles per cubic meter and 31 particles of hazel pollen.

"This is certainly a high concentration for the current season. The pollen season usually begins in March, but this year we could see pollen in late January," Vill said. "Usually these plants do not bloom so early. At the same time, damp and rainy weather alleviate the situation as the rain is used to wash pollen out from the air."

However, the concentrations of pollen in the air have not yet reached the critical level usually found in March for algae. Then concentrations can rise to several hundreds of pollen grains per cubic meter, Vill explained.

"Alder pollen has been in the air since the beginning of February, and lately more than hazel pollen," Maie Laaniste of the Estonian Allergy Association told ERR.

The association, there are about 150,000 pollen allergy sufferers in Estonia.

As warmer weather continues, people with allergies should pay attention to pollen monitoring data available on the Estonian Ambient Air Quality website.

The Estonian Environmental Research Center is planning to publish information on pollen concentrations on its Facebook page.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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