The AusPollen partnership project: Allergenic airborne grass pollen seasonality and magnitude across temperate and subtropical eastern Australia, 2016-2020.

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Journal Article
Environ Res, 2022, 214, (Pt 1), pp. 113762
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BACKGROUND: Allergic rhinitis affects half a billion people globally, including a fifth of the Australian population. As the foremost outdoor allergen source, ambient grass pollen exposure is likely to be altered by climate change. The AusPollen Partnership aimed to standardize pollen monitoring and examine broad-scale biogeographical and meteorological factors influencing interannual variation in seasonality of grass pollen aerobiology in Australia. METHODS: Daily airborne grass and other pollen concentrations in four eastern Australian cities separated by over 1700 km, were simultaneously monitored using Hirst-style samplers following the Australian Interim Pollen and Spore Monitoring Standard and Protocols over four seasons from 2016 to 2020. The grass seasonal pollen integral was determined. Gridded rainfall, temperature, and satellite-derived grassland sources up to 100 km from the monitoring site were analysed. RESULTS: The complexity of grass pollen seasons was related to latitude with multiple major summer-autumn peaks in Brisbane, major spring and minor summer peaks in Sydney and Canberra, and single major spring peaks occurring in Melbourne. The subtropical site of Brisbane showed a higher proportion of grass out of total pollen than more temperate sites. The magnitude of the grass seasonal pollen integral was correlated with pasture greenness, rainfall and number of days over 30 °C, preceding and within the season, up to 100 km radii from monitoring sites. CONCLUSIONS: Interannual fluctuations in Australian grass pollen season magnitude are strongly influenced by regional biogeography and both pre- and in-season weather. This first continental scale, Southern Hemisphere standardized aerobiology dataset forms the basis to track shifts in pollen seasonality, biodiversity and impacts on allergic respiratory diseases.
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