If you feel like your recent periods of coughing, sneezing and shaking your fists at the trees for producing so much pollen are getting longer, you’re probably right.
It seems that climate change is having an effect on the duration of plants’ pollination seasons. Warmer and wetter winters are allowing pollination to start earlier and last longer, sometimes as much as 27 days longer. Changing carbon dioxide levels in the air can also affect how much pollen plants produce… and it’s not going down. The net effect is longer, harsher seasons for allergy sufferers.
Seasonal allergies were first reported around the time of the industrial revolution, though we’re not certain why they sprang up then. It could be that the rapid urbanization and increase in human greenhouse gas emissions triggered the phenomenon of seasonal allergies. Even now, pollen allergies are on the rise in urban centres. As the temperature increases, due to our elevated emissions, allergenic species are able to migrate into areas they previously couldn’t thrive in. This results in new allergies as well as worsening of previously existing ones. Pollen counts are raised by windy and dry conditions, and lowered by wet and cooler ones, so staying indoors on the hottest of spring days is a good idea. You might also want to consider what you can do to mitigate climate change. After all, the climate is unequivocally, undeniably changing. And not for the better.