Effects of climate change and seed dispersal on airborne ragweed pollen loads in Europe

A - Papers appearing in refereed journals

Hamaoui-Laguel, L., Vautard, R., Liu, L., Solmon, F., Viovy, N., Khvorosthyanov, D., Essl, F., Chuine, I., Colette, A., Semenov, M. A., Schaffhauser, A., Storkey, J., Thibaudon, M. and Epstein, M. M. 2015. Effects of climate change and seed dispersal on airborne ragweed pollen loads in Europe. Nature Climate Change. 5, pp. 766-771.

AuthorsHamaoui-Laguel, L., Vautard, R., Liu, L., Solmon, F., Viovy, N., Khvorosthyanov, D., Essl, F., Chuine, I., Colette, A., Semenov, M. A., Schaffhauser, A., Storkey, J., Thibaudon, M. and Epstein, M. M.
Abstract

Common ragweed (Ambrosia artemisiifolia) is an invasive alien species in Europe producing pollen that causes severe allergic disease in susceptible individuals1. Ragweed plants could further invade European land with climate and land-use changes2,3. However, airborne pollen evolution depends not only on plant invasion, but also on pollen production, release and atmospheric dispersion changes. To predict the effect of climate and land-use changes on airborne pollen concentrations, we used two comprehensive modelling frameworks accounting for all these factors under high-end and moderate climate and land-use change scenarios. We estimate that by 2050 airborne ragweed pollen concentrations will be about 4 times higher than they are now, with a range of uncertainty from 2 to 12 largely depending on the seed dispersal rate assumptions. About a third of the airborne pollen increase is due to on-going seed dispersal, irrespective of climate change. The remaining two-thirds are related to climate and land-use changes that will extend ragweed habitat suitability in northern and eastern Europe and increase pollen production in established ragweed areas owing to increasing CO2. Therefore, climate change and ragweed seed dispersal in current and future suitable areas will increase airborne pollen concentrations, which may consequently heighten the incidence and prevalence of ragweed allergy.

KeywordsEcological modelling; Environmental health; Invasive species
Year of Publication2015
JournalNature Climate Change
Journal citation5, pp. 766-771
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.1038/nclimate2652
Open accessPublished as non-open access
Funder project or codeDelivering Sustainable Systems (SS) [ISPG]
Quantifying Sustainable Systems
Atopic diseases in changing climate, land use and air quality (ATOPICA)
FunderBiotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online25 May 2015
Publication process dates
Accepted13 Apr 2015
Copyright licensePublisher copyright
PublisherSpringer Nature
Nature Publishing Group
ISSN1758-678X

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