How Does Climate Change Affect Allergy Season?

The spring allergy season may kick off earlier and last several weeks longer by the end of the century thanks to climate change, a new analysis suggests. Scientists at the University of Michigan used computer models to simulate how changing weather conditions and carbon dioxide levels will affect pollen emissions for common trees, weeds, and grasses across the United States. They found that the timing and duration of the spring and fall pollen seasons will shift by the end of the century, leading to substantial increases in the amount of pollen unleashed annually.

The findings suggest that longer and more prolific pollen seasons in the country will aggravate asthma and hay fever, which currently plagues an estimated 10 to 30 percent of the world’s population, the team reported on March 15 in Nature Communications.

“This study can be a starting point for future investigations into the consequences of climate change on pollen emissions and also the subsequent health impacts,” says Yingxiao Zhang, an atmospheric scientist who coauthored the paper.

Excerpted from Popular Science

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