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Prepare for longer, more intense allergy seasons, University of Michigan researchers say

Coping with ragweed allergies
Posted at 10:24 AM, Mar 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-16 10:24:50-04

(WXYZ) — Allergy season is quickly approaching, and research from the University of Michigan shows that pollen levels may be higher than usual this year.

This increase in pollen is being fueled by rising temperatures and increased CO2 levels sparked by climate change.

According to the university, these factors could increase the annual amount of pollen emitted each year by up to 200%.

They say pollen emissions could also begin 40 days earlier by the end of this century and last an additional 19 days before high pollen counts subside.

"Pollen-induced respiratory allergies are getting worse with climate change," University of Michigan graduate student and research assistant in climate and space sciences and engineering Yingxiao Zhang said. "Our findings can be a starting point for further investigations into the consequence of climate change on pollen and corresponding health effects."

UM researchers developed a predictive model that examines 15 of the most common pollen types and how their production will be impacted by projected changes in temperatures and precipitation.

They then used their model to predict pollen emissions for the last two decades of the 21st century.

"We're hoping to include our pollen emissions model within a national air quality forecasting system to provide improved and climate-sensitive forecasts to the public," UM professor of climate and space sciences and engineering Allison Steiner said.