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Title: The long distance transport of airborne Ambrosia pollen to the UK and the Netherlands from Central and south Europe
Authors: de Weger, Letty A.
Pashley, Catherine H.
Šikoparija, Branko
Skjøth, Carsten A.
Kasprzyk, Idalia
Grewling, Lukasz
Thibaudon, Miche
Magyar, Donat
Smith, Matt
First Published: 27-Apr-2016
Publisher: Springer Verlag for International Society of Biometeorology
Citation: International Journal of Biometeorology, 2016, doi:10.1007/s00484-016-1170-7
Abstract: The invasive alien species Ambrosia artemisiifolia (common or short ragweed) is increasing its range in Europe. In the UK and the Netherlands, airborne concentrations of Ambrosia pollen are usually low. However, more than 30 Ambrosia pollen grains per cubic metre of air (above the level capable to trigger allergic symptoms) were recorded in Leicester (UK) and Leiden (NL) on 4 and 5 September 2014. The aims of this study were to determine whether the highly allergenic Ambrosia pollen recorded during the episode could be the result of long distance transport, to identify the potential sources of these pollen grains and to describe the conditions that facilitated this possible long distance transport. Airborne Ambrosia pollen data were collected at 10 sites in Europe. Back trajectory and atmospheric dispersion calculations were performed using HYSPLIT_4. Back trajectories calculated at Leicester and Leiden show that higher altitude air masses (1500 m) originated from source areas on the Pannonian Plain and Ukraine. During the episode, air masses veered to the west and passed over the Rhône Valley. Dispersion calculations showed that the atmospheric conditions were suitable for Ambrosia pollen released from the Pannonian Plain and the Rhône Valley to reach the higher levels and enter the airstream moving to northwest Europe where they were deposited at ground level and recorded by monitoring sites. The study indicates that the Ambrosia pollen grains recorded during the episode in Leicester and Leiden were probably not produced by local sources but transported long distances from potential source regions in east Europe, i.e. the Pannonian Plain and Ukraine, as well as the Rhône Valley in France.
DOI Link: 10.1007/s00484-016-1170-7
ISSN: 0020-7128
eISSN: 1432-1254
Version: Publisher Version
Status: Peer-reviewed
Type: Journal Article
Rights: Copyright © the authors, 2016. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( ), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Appears in Collections:Published Articles, Dept. of Infection, Immunity and Inflammation

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