Near-ground effect of height on pollen exposure.


Center of Allergy & Environment (ZAUM), Member of the German Center for Lung Research (DZL), Technical University and Helmholtz Center Munich, Germany; University of Castilla-La Mancha Institute of Environmental Sciences (Botany), Toledo, Spain. Electronic address: [Email]


The effect of height on pollen concentration is not well documented and little is known about the near-ground vertical profile of airborne pollen. This is important as most measuring stations are on roofs, but patient exposure is at ground level. Our study used a big data approach to estimate the near-ground vertical profile of pollen concentrations based on a global study of paired stations located at different heights. We analyzed paired sampling stations located at different heights between 1.5 and 50 m above ground level (AGL). This provided pollen data from 59 Hirst-type volumetric traps from 25 different areas, mainly in Europe, but also covering North America and Australia, resulting in about 2,000,000 daily pollen concentrations analyzed. The daily ratio of the amounts of pollen from different heights per location was used, and the values of the lower station were divided by the higher station. The lower station of paired traps recorded more pollen than the higher trap. However, while the effect of height on pollen concentration was clear, it was also limited (average ratio 1.3, range 0.7-2.2). The standard deviation of the pollen ratio was highly variable when the lower station was located close to the ground level (below 10 m AGL). We show that pollen concentrations measured at >10 m are representative for background near-ground levels.


Aerobiology,Big data,Height,Monitoring network,Pollen,