Research: The allergy season will start earlier and end later as the world warms up

Allergists say the pollen season in the United States used to begin around St. Patrick’s Day. Now, it often starts around Valentine’s Day.

Climate change has already extended the allergy season and the number of pollens has increased, but you haven’t sneezed yet.

Climatologists at the University of Michigan looked at 15 different plant pollens in the United States and used computer simulations to calculate how bad the allergy season would be by 2100. It is enough that allergy patients have more red eyes.

As the world warms, the allergy season will begin weeks ago and end many days later – and will only get worse as pollen levels continue to triple in some places, according to a new study in the journal Nature on Tuesday. Communication.

Warm weather allows plants to bloom earlier and bloom later. The study’s co-author, Allison Steiner, a climatologist at the University of Michigan, said the extra carbon dioxide in the air from combustible fuels such as coal, gasoline and natural gas helped plants produce more pollen.

It is already happening. A year ago, a study by various researchers found that pollen increased from 1990 to 2018 and that the allergy season began earlier, much of it due to climate change.

Allergists say that the pollen season in the United States used to start around St. Patrick’s Day, but now it often begins around Valentine’s Day.

New research has found that the allergy season will continue and the total amount of pollen will increase rapidly. It depends on how long and how much specific pollen, ground and how much greenhouse gas emissions are released into the air.

With a moderate reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from coal, oil and natural gas, the pollen season will begin 20 days before the end of the century. In the most extreme and less likely warming scenario, the pollen season in most parts of America will generally begin 40 days earlier than it began in recent decades.

About 30 percent of the world’s children and 40 percent of American children already suffer from pollen allergies, which hurt the economy due to lost work days and medical expenses, said Yingxiao Zhang, a climate researcher at the University of Michigan, the lead author of the new study.

Allergies are especially difficult for 25 million Americans with asthma. That could make the problem worse for them, said Amir Sapkota, a professor of environmental health at the University of Maryland who is not part of the study.

Steiner will hit the Southeast more, although allergy sufferers will increase in the United States.

The beginning of the alder tree pollen season will move most dramatically, a problem in the Pacific Northwest. Cypress pollen, which is especially bad in Texas, will be among the biggest increases.

Zhang said ragweed and herbs – common pollen allergies – will have longer seasons and higher pollen numbers in the future.

Bill Anderegg, a biologist and climatologist at the University of Utah, said the University of Michigan team’s forecasting projects would be about twice as big a leap in pollen problems as they have been since 1990.

“Overall, this is an incredibly important study,” said Anderegg, who did not participate in the new study. “This tells us that the historical trends of longer and more severe pollen seasons are likely to continue with climate change, and that this will have serious health consequences for Americans with allergies and asthma.”

Read the Associated Press’s stories on climate change at https://apnews.com/hub/climate

Follow Seth Borenstein on Twitter at @borenbears.

The Associated Press The Department of Health and Science receives support from the Department of Science Education at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. AP is responsible for all content.

Research: The allergy season will start earlier and end later as the world warms up

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