Ragweed pollen observed in Turkey: detection of sources using back trajectory models.

Abstract

This paper discusses the pollen season and the source apportionment of ragweed (Ambrosia) grains detected in the atmosphere of Istanbul, Turkey. The dynamic migration of this invasive taxon is a serious environmental issue. Ragweed pollen is highly allergenic and causes sensitization in patients at low concentrations. At present, there is no floristic evidence of this taxon in the region. Aerobiological records presented here, though, indicate a local source. Moreover, we argue that ragweed pollen comes from distant sources through air mass movements. The analysis concerns the ragweed season 2007. Pollens were sampled with a Burkard trap and identified at a magnification of 400 ×. Grains were counted on 12 transverse traverses to estimate bi-hourly changes in concentrations. The peak day was on August 28 with 20 grainsm(-3). Ragweed was observed on 22 days during August and September 2007. On all days, except one, the daily average concentration was below 10 grainsm(-3). Diurnal bi-hourly ragweed concentrations reached a maximum at 11:00 EET. Relatively high concentrations were observed between 21:00 and 01:00 EET. This allowed for the assumption of a local and a remote ragweed pollen source. We used HYSPLIT backward trajectory ensembles to identify possible sources on peak day. A frequency analysis of back trajectories covering the entire ragweed season followed. Firstly, possible local sources were the Istanbul Province and Turkish Thrace; secondly, a likely over-regional source was Bulgaria; and lastly, remote sources of ragweed pollen were the Ukraine, the Russian coastal region of the Black Sea and Moldova. This study provides evidence that pollens detected on our receptor site stem from combined local and remote origins.

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