The impact of climate change on pollen means worse allergies

Cape Codders who feel their seasonal allergies are getting worse every year are not alone. And they are not wrong.

Doctors and environmental health scientists say climate change is contributing to longer and more intense pollen seasons — and it’s a trend that shows no signs of abating.

Studies tracking pollen activity over decades show that warming trends have caused the pollen season to begin two to three weeks earlier in the northern United States than it did in the late 1970s and 1980s, said Dr. Aaron Bernstein, director of the center. for climate change and global environment at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health.

“Pollen seasons start earlier and last longer,” says Dr. Lewis Ziska, an associate professor in the Department of Environmental Health Sciences at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health in New York.

Allergy sufferer Mark Thurman peeks through the treeline at the YMCA in West Barnstable, where he works, as tree pollen counts remain high.

The number of frost-free days is increasing, affecting plants from trees to ragweed, said Ziska, who has published research on pollen trends in the journal Lancet and the National Academy of Sciences.

The longer growing seasons have a notable impact on pollen trends in New England, which are more pronounced in Minnesota and the Dakotas, where the growing season has been extended by as much as three weeks, Ziska said.

The impact of climate change on pollen means worse allergies

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Scroll to top