Allergy Asthma Immunol Res.  2020 Mar;12(2):259-273. 10.4168/aair.2020.12.2.259.

Allergenic Pollen Calendar in Korea Based on Probability Distribution Models and Up-to-Date Observations

Affiliations
  • 1Applied Meteorology Research Division, National Institute of Meteorological Sciences, Seogwipo, Korea. krk9@kma.go.kr
  • 2Department of Pediatrics, Hanyang University Guri Hospital, Hanyang University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea. jaewonoh@hanyang.ac.kr

Abstract

PURPOSE
The pollen calendar is the simplest forecasting method for pollen concentrations. As pollen concentrations are liable to seasonal variations due to alterations in climate and land-use, it is necessary to update the pollen calendar using recent data. To attenuate the impact of considerable temporal and spatial variability in pollen concentrations on the pollen calendar, it is essential to employ a new methodology for its creation.
METHODS
A pollen calendar was produced in Korea using data from recent observations, and a new method for creating the calendar was proposed, considering both risk levels and temporal resolution of pollen concentrations. A probability distribution was used for smoothing concentrations and determining risk levels. Airborne pollen grains were collected between 2007 and 2017 at 8 stations; 13 allergenic pollens, including those of alder, Japanese cedar, birch, hazelnut, oak, elm, pine, ginkgo, chestnut, grasses, ragweed, mugwort and Japanese hop, were identified from the collected grains.
RESULTS
The concentrations of each pollen depend on locations and seasons due to large variability in species distribution and their environmental condition. In the descending order of concentration, pine, oak and Japanese hop pollens were found to be the most common in Korea. The pollen concentrations were high in spring and autumn, and those of oak and Japanese hop were probably the most common cause of allergy symptoms in spring and autumn, respectively. High Japanese cedar pollen counts were observed in Jeju, while moderate concentrations were in Jeonju, Gwangju and Busan.
CONCLUSIONS
A new methodology for the creation of a pollen calendar was developed to attenuate the impact of large temporal and spatial variability in pollen concentrations. This revised calendar should be available to the public and allergic patients to prevent aggravation of pollen allergy.

Keyword

Pollen; seasons; rhinitis, allergic, seasonal; climate; oak; Japanese cedar; birch; ragweed; mugwort
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