Research Article: The impact of meteorological conditions on the concentration of alder pollen in Sosnowiec (Poland) in the years 1997–2017

Date Published: June 12, 2018

Publisher: Springer Netherlands

Author(s): Katarzyna Dąbrowska-Zapart, Kazimiera Chłopek, Tadeusz Niedźwiedź.


The aim of the work was to compare the alder pollen seasons in the years 1997–2017 in Sosnowiec. The measurements of pollen concentration were taken with the volumetric method using Burkard’s apparatus. The impact of atmospheric conditions on the daily alder pollen grain concentration, the annual totals, and the duration of pollen seasons were studied. The dependency between each meteorological condition and different features of the alder pollen season was determined by using Pearson’s correlation coefficients, variance analysis with multiple comparison tests, and the linear regression model using backward elimination. It was proven that the temperatures directly preceding the pollination, i.e. the January and February temperatures as well as those from the period from 210 to 180 days preceding the beginning of the season, have the greatest impact on the beginning of the alder pollen season. The value of the daily alder pollen concentration in Sosnowiec showed a positive statistically significant correlation with the air temperature and sunshine duration and a negative correlation with the thickness of the snow cover and air relative humidity. The daily concentration also depended on the type of the weather front, direction of air mass inflow, and the type of the inflowing air mass. The season temperatures and the thermal conditions which were present in the summer of the preceding year impacted the annual totals (SPI) of the alder pollen grains.

Partial Text

In Poland, the genus Alnus is represented by three species. Two of them are trees, Alnus glutinosa and Alnus incana, and the third one (Alnus viridis) is a small shrub the occurrence of which is limited only to the Bieszczady Mountains. In the city of Sosnowiec and adjacent areas, two alder species were found: Alnus glutinosa and Alnus incana (Zając and Zając 2001).

Alder pollen concentrations were analysed based on the data obtained in Sosnowiec in the years 1997–2017. The aerobiological measurements were taken using the volumetric method with the use of a Burkard-type apparatus. The apparatus was located at a height of 20 m in the area of the buildings belonging to the Faculty of Earth Sciences of the University of Silesia in Sosnowiec, in the northern part of Pogoń, a Sosnowiec district, which is characterised by a residential block low-density housing. The geographical coordinates of the measurement point are: 50°17′50″N and 19°08′20″E. Nearby, at a height of 263 m a.s.l. a weather station of the Department of Climatology is located, the weather data of which were used. Some data from the synoptic station of the Institute of Meteorology and Water Management in Katowice, located approximately 10 km to the south-west of Sosnowiec, were also used. The average daily and monthly values of meteorological elements, such as average, ground, maximum, and minimum air temperature and the daily temperature amplitude, sunshine duration, relative humidity, and water vapour pressure, average and maximum wind speed, precipitation, presence and thickness of snow cover, direction and type of atmospheric circulation, were used in the research (Niedźwiedź 1981, 2004).

In the period of 21 years of research, significant differences in the studied characteristics of alder pollen seasons were observed. Definitely, the least varied were the dates of the end of the pollen season and the dates of the maximum pollen grain concentration during the day, which confirms the low coefficient of variation (Table 2). The characteristics of the pollen seasons which turned out to be the most variable in the studied years were: maximum value of daily concentration, value of the annual total, and the beginning date of the season (Table 2). The annual totals ranged from 429 grains in 2009 to 4742 grains in 2003 (Table 1). The analysis of the annual totals of alder pollen grain in Sosnowiec did not demonstrate any existing cyclicality in the occurrence of years with high values of annual totals alternately with years of low pollen production. In the series under study, there are years with lower values of pollen grains separated by years with a high annual total, but not in regular time intervals.Table 1Characteristics of alder pollen seasons in SosnowiecYearBeginning of the pollen seasonEnd of the pollen seasonDuration of the pollen seasonMaximum concentrationDate of max concentrationAnnual total≥ 45 grains/m3≥ 80 grains/m3199721.02 (52)15.04 (105)531092.03 (61)53342199818.01 (18)23.03 (82)6421122.02 (53)181712819995.02 (36)14.04 (104)684763.03 (62)230210520004.02 (35)2.05 (123)888529.02 (60)8235120019.02 (40)4.04 (94)54117212.03 (71)470712920021.02 (32)2.05 (122)907619.02 (50)93160200311.03 (70)20.04 (110)40121327.03 (86)4742151220046.02 (37)12.04 (103)6699618.03 (78)327095200511.03 (70)20.04 (110)4032427.03 (86)140596200621.03 (80)16.05 (136)563611.04 (91)2104127200716.01 (16)29.04 (119)1039212.03 (71)82262200826.01 (26)21.03 (81)5581924.02 (55)469116920095.03 (64)4.05 (124)607017.03 (76)4292020102.03 (61)10.04 (100)3975721.03 (80)35809920116.03 (65)15.04 (105)4019522.03 (81)7815220122.03 (62)3.04 (94)3228019.03 (79)11295420135.03 (64)26.04 (116)5262312.04 (102)20607620141.02 (32)17.03 (76)443379.03 (68)31361815201521.02 (52)8.04 (98)461638.03 (67)12179420164.02 (35)8.04 (99)6471522.02 (53)3447149201724.02 (55)26.03 (85)302665.03 (64)140796The numbers in parentheses indicate the consecutive day from the beginning of the pollen season

Pollen grain concentration monitoring is an important tool used for evaluating the degree of exposure to allergens, diagnostics in the case of allergy occurrence, evaluation of treatment efficiency, or pollen allergy prophylaxis. Pollen seasons are characterised by a high variation, both on the account of duration and pollen grain concentration (Spieksma et al. 2003). Both weather conditions during blossoming and flower bud formation and the genetic conditions of the plants connected with their productivity influence the course of the pollen seasons. Thus, the longer the series of measurement is, the more the complete data we may obtain on the pollen season dynamics of each taxon. The Alnus pollen season in Sosnowiec started on average on the 48th day counted from the beginning of the year and ended on the 104th day (Table 2). The duration of the pollen season equalled 56 days. The lowest variation in the years under study was shown in the dates from the season’s end and the dates of occurrence of the maximum daily pollen concentration, which has also been found in other Polish cities (Wołek and Myszkowska 2008; Myszkowska et al. 2010, Kasprzyk 2011). The highest coefficient of variation was characteristic for the highest daily concentrations and the annual totals of pollen grains. The average course of pollen seasons from the years 1997–2017 is shown in Fig. 5.Fig. 5The average course of pollen seasons from the years 1997–2017 

Analysing the time of pollen season occurrence in the multiannual period studied, it was observed that the greatest differences concern the maximum concentration values and the pollen grain annual totals. This is proven by a high coefficient of variation and a high standard deviation value. The season characteristics which were the least varied in the years 1997–2017 were the end of the pollen season and the date of maximum daily concentration.