Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Links between longer ragweed season and climate change confirmed

Date:
February 25, 2011
Source:
USDA/Agricultural Research Service
Summary:
New studies have confirmed what many pollen-sensitive people already suspected: In some parts of North America, ragweed season now lasts longer and ends later.

Ragweed.
Credit: Photo courtesy of Lou Ziska, ARS

Studies by a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientist and cooperators have confirmed what many pollen-sensitive people already suspected: In some parts of North America, ragweed season now lasts longer and ends later.

Ragweed pollen in some parts of the northern United States and Canada now lingers almost a month longer than it did in 1995, and these increases are correlated to seasonal warming shifts linked to climate change dynamics in the higher latitudes, according to a study published on February 22 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

"One of the biggest challenges in studying climate change is finding out how the plant kingdom is adapting to increases in air temperature and other meteorological phenomena," said Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Administrator Edward B. Knipling. "Studies like this also show us that these ecological shifts don't stop at crop production. They can also have a significant impact on public health."

ARS is USDA's principal intramural scientific research agency, and this research supports the USDA priority of responding to climate change.

Assessments by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change suggest that current and future increases in land-surface temperatures are more likely to occur at higher elevations and at higher latitudes. But definitive studies correlating warming temperatures, longer growing seasons, and increased plant pollination have been lacking.

Lewis Ziska, a plant physiologist with the ARS Crop Systems and Global Change Research Unit in Beltsville, Md., led a scientific team that identified 10 locations that had at least 15 years of data, from 1995 to 2009, on local ragweed pollen counts. These locations were along a north-south transect from Austin, Texas, to Saskatoon, Canada. The researchers compared the pollen data at each site to other site data, including latitude, the number of frost-free days, and delays in the onset of the first fall frost.

The researchers found that from 1995 to 2009, the number of frost-free days at higher-latitude study sites had increased, and so had the length of the ragweed pollen season. During that period, the pollen season lasted from 13 to 27 days longer than in 1995. They also found that a longer ragweed pollen season was strongly correlated with a delay in the onset of the first fall frost.

Other collaborators included researchers from the Natural Resources Defense Council; the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.; the Allergy and Asthma Care Center in Fargo, N.D.; Allergy & Asthma Specialists in Minneapolis, Minn.; the Oklahoma Allergy and Asthma Clinic in Oklahoma City, Okla.; the Asthma and Allergy Center in Omaha, Neb.; the Hedberg Allergy and Asthma Center in Rogers, Ark.; Children's Mercy Hospitals and Clinics in Kansas City, Mo.; the Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology Clinic of Georgetown in Georgetown, Texas.; Allergy Associates of La Crosse, Wis.; the University of Wisconsin-Madison; Aerobiology Research Laboratories in Ontario, Canada; Rutgers University; and HealthEast Care System in St. Paul, Minn.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by USDA/Agricultural Research Service. The original article was written by Ann Perry. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Lewis Ziska, Kim Knowlton, Christine Rogers, Dan Dalan, Nicole Tierney, Mary Ann Elder, Warren Filley, Jeanne Shropshire, Linda B. Ford, Curtis Hedberg, Pamela Fleetwood, Kim T. Hovanky, Tony Kavanaugh, George Fulford, Rose F. Vrtis, Jonathan A. Patz, Jay Portnoy, Frances Coates, Leonard Bielory, and David Frenz. Recent warming by latitude associated with increased length of ragweed pollen season in central North America. PNAS, February 22, 2011 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1014107108

Cite This Page:

USDA/Agricultural Research Service. "Links between longer ragweed season and climate change confirmed." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 February 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110222140552.htm>.
USDA/Agricultural Research Service. (2011, February 25). Links between longer ragweed season and climate change confirmed. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110222140552.htm
USDA/Agricultural Research Service. "Links between longer ragweed season and climate change confirmed." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110222140552.htm (accessed October 20, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Monday, October 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Powerful Hurricane Gonzalo Heads to Bermuda

Raw: Powerful Hurricane Gonzalo Heads to Bermuda

AP (Oct. 17, 2014) Hurricane Gonzalo pounded Bermuda with wind and heavy surf on Friday, bearing down on the tiny British territory as a powerful Category 3 storm that could raise coastal seas as much as 10 feet. (Oct. 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
So, Kangaroos Didn't Always Hop

So, Kangaroos Didn't Always Hop

Newsy (Oct. 16, 2014) Researchers believe an extinct kangaroo species weighed 500 pounds or more and couldn't hop. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hurricane Gonzalo Is A Category 4 And Heading To Bermuda

Hurricane Gonzalo Is A Category 4 And Heading To Bermuda

Newsy (Oct. 16, 2014) Powerful hurricane could hit Bermuda this weekend, and even if it misses it will likely do some damage. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Largest Volcano In Centuries Is Spewing Toxic Gas

The Largest Volcano In Centuries Is Spewing Toxic Gas

Newsy (Oct. 16, 2014) One of the largest volcanic eruptions in centuries is occurring on Iceland. The volcano Bardarbunga is producing high levels of sulfur dioxide. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins