Influence of Saharan-Sahel dust outbreaks on pollen exposure in the Iberian Mediterranean areas

  1. Jesús Rojo
  2. José María Moreno 1
  3. Jorge Romero-Morte
  4. Beatriz Lara
  5. Belén Elvira-Rendueles 1
  6. Luis Negral 1
  7. Federico Fernández-González
  8. Stella Moreno-Grau 1
  9. Rosa Pérez-Badia
  1. 1 Universidad Politécnica de Cartagena

    Universidad Politécnica de Cartagena

    Cartagena, España


EGU (European Geosciences Union) General Assembly 2021

Year of publication: 2021

Type: Conference paper


Airborne particulate matter such as mineral dust comes mainly from natural sources, and the arid regions of Sahara and Sahel in Africa release large amounts of the aerosols dispersed worldwide. There is evidence of concomitant presence of desert dust particles and bioaerosols such as pollen grains in the atmosphere, which produce a significant decline in air quality during the dust intrusions events. However, there is little knowledge about the influence of dust episodes on pollen exposure in allergy sufferers as well as the causes that may produce a potential effect of the intrusions on airborne pollen levels. This potential effect on the airborne pollen concentrations is analysed in the Iberian Mediterranean region in this study. Mediterranean countries are strongly affected by Saharan-Sahel dust intrusions, and the Iberian territory, specially the central and southern areas, suffer frequently great incidence of dust episodes due to its geographic location. In this study firstly, the simultaneous occurrence between airborne pollen peaks and Saharan-Sahel dust intrusions were analysed and compared with the behaviour in the days before and after the dust intrusions in the central and south-eastern Iberian Peninsula. Secondly, the weather conditions favouring high pollen concentrations during dust episodes namely prevalent winds, air mass pathways and variations in other meteorological variables like air temperature, relative humidity or atmospheric pressure were studied.