RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) - It's here... After a prolonged colder period, the trees are responding to the longer daylight hours and the milder temperatures. Let the Spring sneezing season commence!
In all of the Commonwealth, tree pollination is high. It's "fast and furious" at onset, which may make the first full lovely week of April pretty miserable for those of you who have allergies.
Maple, cedar and birch are the biggest tree pollinators right now, but every tree contributes allergens now.
Plants thrive on carbon dioxide, which we exhale and also produce when using fossil fuels. As more carbon dioxide is in our atmosphere (that amount continues to rise), so does pollen production. Plants love this stuff, biology research shows.
In a test-case (shown above), ragweed plants were exposed to current carbon dioxide levels, and then given higher levels (which climate scientists project will occur in the next decades). The higher CO2 exposure "caused ragweed plants to produce 131% and 320% more pollen, respectively, compared to plants grown at pre-industrial concentrations (~280ppm)."
So if you think your allergies have been getting worse every year, they may only worsen in coming years as plants that thrive on CO2 pollinate even more with more CO2 in the atmosphere.
This is the full Mauna Loa record, showing the increase in global carbon dioxide levels: