Connecting Allergies and Climate Change

If you are sensitive to pollen, the changing climate is not doing you a favor. In a recent study, there was a clear connection between an increase in Pollen and an increase in Carbon Dioxide. I know I have been sniffling a bit more than usual, but could that directly be related to our changing Climate?

Carbon dioxide continues to rise across the globe and into the Great Lakes. Rising temperatures are leading to a lengthened growing season.  A growing season is typically between the last freeze in the winter/spring and the first hard freeze in the fall.

Temp Change Co2

The lengthened growing season is great news for those of you in the agriculture field in Northern Michigan.

Longer Growing Season 2021

While that news is good for some, the early growing season often begins in April due to earlier spring weather and temps rising well above average, followed by freezing temperatures. Meteorologists call this a hard freeze. This can also happen late in the fall. Meteorologists started keeping track of this data in 1970. Since scientists started collecting data, Traverse city has seen a 19-day increase in the number of days in a growing season.

The dark green line is data from the past (number of days in a growing season). The yellow line is the trendline from 1970 to 2020. There is a clear rise in the number of days in a growing season.

A longer growing season also means a longer allergy season.

Increase In Pollen 2021

The dark green bars represent “more emissions” or the worst-case scenario.

The light green bars represent “aggressive cuts” or aggressively cutting back on carbon emissions. This is the best-case scenario.

Notice we are seeing grass pollen production just above 1.0 units in 2020. Pollen production is likely to more than double by 2080 and why that might not be a problem for you, it will be for your kids and grandkids. There is a clear upward trend in an increase in pollen levels associated with higher counts of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) in your atmosphere.

Categories: Weather