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Climate Change

Three ways that climate change can affect pollen emissions

Publication date: 09-02-2024, Read time: 2 min

Factors affecting pollen emissions 

During the year, various plant species produce pollen grains in their reproduction cycle. They are tiny particles that are carried by open air currents and thus become distributed. [AEW(I1] The time when pollen are emitted differs per country and species. In the Netherlands, the pollen emission season occurs from winter or early spring to late summer. Higher temperatures are one of the indicators for plants to start their pollen emission. Other weather factors such as rainfall and humidity  also influence the time of pollen emissions.

How does climate change impact pollen emissions? 

Climate change impact pollen emissions in a number of ways:

1. Flowering patterns. Climate change impacts the moment in the year when pollen are emitted via altering flowering patterns. Flowering can shift forward and backward in time. Allergenic plants that normally do not flower simultaneously, can thus start to produce simultaneously, leading to an abnormally high total pollen emission.

2. Length of pollen season. Climate change also impacts the length of the “pollen season”. Higher temperatures can lead to longer growing seasons for plants, resulting in extended pollen seasons.

3. New plant species. Besides the timing and length of the pollen season of plants already growing in the Netherlands, we know that climate change may create environmental conditions suitable for new plant species to thrive in our country.

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Last edited: 07-05-2024

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