Local hay fever sufferers will breathe more easily following the news that Northern Ireland's only air pollen sampler has been installed at Queen's University Belfast in association with the Met Office.
The new pollen trap, sited on the roof of the Queen's School of Geography, Archaeology & Palaeoecology, is the only one of its kind in Northern Ireland. Up until now the Met Office has been relying on pollen readings from Edinburgh to determine the pollen forecast in Belfast. The new pollen trap will provide Northern Ireland with its own more accurate readings.
Using the newly installed equipment at Queen's, data will be collected once a day and reported to the Met Office who will combine the information with their weather forecasts to produce the Northern Ireland pollen forecast for the next five days.
Dr Chris Hunt from the School of Geography, Archaeology & Palaeoecology said: "Hay fever affects between 15-20% of us so it is a huge boost for sufferers to know that we will have more accurate and frequent readings from the pollen trap at Queen's University. It means people here will be able to plan better about what activities they can do on certain days and when to take their medication.
"It is also good news for employers as recent research found that hay fever sufferers say they operate at only 63% of their normal rate in terms of productivity and concentration when their symptoms are at their worst. It also found that the average number of days that hay fever impacts on working life is 15.39 per sufferer per year."
The pollen trap is located on the roof of the Elmwood Building at Queen's University and is already taking readings for a more accurate pollen forecast in Northern Ireland.
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