The relationship between air mass type and pollen levels for central North Carolina from 1999 – 2012

Authors: Christopher Elcik*, Mississippi State University, Christopher Fuhrmann, Mississippi State University, Andrew Collins , Mississippi State University
Topics: Climatology and Meteorology, Medical and Health Geography, Environmental Science
Keywords: synoptic climatology, air mass, pollen, allergies
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Lincoln 2, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: Download



Pollen allergies are a common condition that impact people all over the globe. It is important to understand what conditions favor higher levels of pollen so that those who suffer from such allergies can take preventative measures. In this study the relationship between synoptic air masses and pollen levels were examined across the central North Carolina region. Daily air mass types over the study area were obtained using the Spatial Synoptic Classification (SSC) as well as the Gridded Weather Typing Classification (GWTC), which each identify the large-scale meteorological characteristics of a location. The daily ragweed and grass pollen levels were collected from the Division of Air Quality (DAQ) at the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources. Bootstrapping analysis revealed that statistically significant differences exist between the average pollen levels of different air mass types. Based on the SSC and the GWTC, colder air masses were associated with higher grass pollen levels. In particular, Dry Polar (DP) air masses were associated with the largest grass pollen counts. For ragweed, a different relationship was found, as warmer air masses were associated with the greatest pollen amounts. Moreover, transitional air masses (i.e. warm fronts and cold fronts) also led to increases in ragweed pollen.

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