Spatiotemporal models for predicting high pollen concentration level of Corylus, Alnus, and Betula

Abstract

Corylus, Alnus, and Betula trees are among the most important sources of allergic pollen in the temperate zone of the Northern Hemisphere and have a large impact on the quality of life and productivity of allergy sufferers. Therefore, it is important to predict high pollen concentrations, both in time and space. The aim of this study was to create and evaluate spatiotemporal models for predicting high Corylus, Alnus, and Betula pollen concentration levels, based on gridded meteorological data. Aerobiological monitoring was carried out in 11 cities in Poland and gathered, depending on the site, between 2 and 16 years of measurements. According to the first allergy symptoms during exposure, a high pollen count level was established for each taxon. An optimizing probability threshold technique was used for mitigation of the problem of imbalance in the pollen concentration levels. For each taxon, the model was built using a random forest method. The study revealed the possibility of moderately reliable prediction of Corylus and highly reliable prediction of Alnus and Betula high pollen concentration levels, using preprocessed gridded meteorological data. Cumulative growing degree days and potential evaporation proved to be two of the most important predictor variables in the models. The final models predicted not only for single locations but also for continuous areas. Furthermore, the proposed modeling framework could be used to predict high pollen concentrations of Corylus, Alnus, Betula, and other taxa, and in other countries.

Cite
Nowosad J. (2016) Spatiotemporal models for predicting high pollen concentration level of Corylus, Alnus, and Betula. International Journal of Biometeorology, 60(6):843-855
Date
Links