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Developing an automatic monitoring network for real-time pollen and fungal spores observations

Revolutionising the way we observe pollen and fungal spores

Hazelnut pollen is a cause of allergies. Picture from R. Gehrig

Pollen and fungal spores have been measured in the atmosphere for several decades, initially to meet the needs of medical doctors who required this information to diagnose and treat allergic patients. Later, other uses for these data developed, including to study the effects of climate change, identify and control invasive species, and in the domains of agriculture and sylviculture.

Most monitoring networks are currently based on manual observations that generally suffer from poor time resolution and long delays in data availability. Recent technological developments make it possible to monitor pollen and fungal spores automatically thus providing data in real-time. These timely observations, and the enhanced forecasts they enable, is revolutionizing the information that is available to end-users.

The EUMETNET AutoPollen Programme is developing an automatic monitoring network across Europe, covering all aspects of the information chain: from the initial measurements through to services and products designed to meet end-user needs.

Growing a network across Europe

The EUMETNET AutoPollen programme seeks to take full advantage of the large potential for progress that automatic observations provide. It brings together a consortium from across Europe with the multidisciplinary expertise needed to address the challenges along the entire information chain – from the initial observation through to the final products and services co-designed with end users. The programme is particularly innovative in its cooperation and standardisation from-the-start approach. AutoPollen also favours synergies with a wide range of communities beyond traditional aerobiology, leading to improved service provision and additional savings.

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In the context of the SYLVA  project, a new automatic device has been installed on the Jungfraujoch, at an altitude of 3582 m.

Mikhail Sofiev presented the  updates of the project SYLVA which which aims to improve temporal resolution, timeliness, coverage and availability of bioaerosol information through building new infrastructure, distribution and exploitation pathways.

The EUMETNET AutoPollen 2024-2028 project is on its way! All participants will meet on May the 27th to organise the next five years and make sure expectations are met.

EUMETNET AutoPollen published a special issue in the journal Aerobiologia.