2010 Progress Report: [Climate Change and Allergic Airway Disease] Observational,Laboratory, and Modeling Studies of the Impacts of Climate Change onAllergic Airway Disease

EPA Grant Number: R834547
Title: [Climate Change and Allergic Airway Disease] Observational,Laboratory, and Modeling Studies of the Impacts of Climate Change onAllergic Airway Disease
Investigators: Bielory, Leonard , Bonos, Stacy , Georgopoulos, Panos G. , Hom, John , Isukapalli, Sastry S. , Lankow, Richard , Mayer, Henry , Robock, Alan , Velliyagounder, Kabilan , Ziska, Lewis
Institution: Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
EPA Project Officer: Ilacqua, Vito
Project Period: April 1, 2010 through March 31, 2012 (Extended to March 31, 2016)
Project Period Covered by this Report: April 1, 2010 through March 31,2011
Project Amount: $900,000
RFA: Climate Change and Allergic Airway Disease (2008) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Global Climate Change , Health , Climate Change


  • To develop a regional atmospheric dynamic model of pollen production, distribution and dispersion
  • To develop a population exposure and dose model for estimating pollen exposures
  • To generate pollen phenology from the existing 25 years database from the existing certified 74 U.S. pollen counting stations
  • To use the regional model to determine how climate change over the next 50 years will change pollen production, distribution, dispersion, and subsequently exposures
  • To determine the impact of climate change on pollen allergenicity of various species of plants using plant chamber and transects with in vitro and in vivo techniques

Progress Summary:

A mechanistic modeling system for describing pollen emissions and transport over large domains (e.g. Eastern US) has been developed as a central component of the Modeling Environment for Total Risk studies (MENTOR)

  • The Biogenic Emissions Inventory System (BEIS) and the Community Multiscale Air Quality (CMAQ) modeling system was adapted to incorporate description of pollen transport (CMAQ-pollen).
  • Application case studies have been performed involving simulation of birch and ragweed pollen levels for past years (2002 and 2007). Additional sensitivity simulations were performed to comparatively evaluate dispersion patterns predicted by CMAQ-pollen with those predicted by the Hybrid Single- Particle Lagrangian Integrated Trajectory (HYSPLIT) model.

A modeling system for studying the emissions and transport of aeroallergens under different climate change scenarios is under continued development

  • Emissions modules have been developed for multiple pollen species; major factors considered include resuspension, meteorological parameters such as surface temperature trends, friction velocity, humidity, precipitation, etc.
  • Emissions modules have been parameterized via Bayesian models based on analysis of historical data for estimating effects of climate change on annual flux and start date of pollen emissions.
  • Case studies focus on prediction of regional-scale birch pollen levels for years 2040 to 2065; results suggest the start date of birch pollen season is likely to be about one week earlier in these future years than in 2005


Future Activities:

  • Climate Chambers – The environmental growth chambers were received at the USDA location in Maryland. They required simulations for past and present climates prior to initiation of specific allergenic plant growths.  Electrical issues that were encountered which took approximately 6 weeks to resolve.  At present time, the chambers are up and running and are simulating a current temperature and CO2 baseline evaluation of three known allergenic species, common plantain, common ragweed and mugwort. It is anticipated that our first run will be done in approximately 100 days from present.
  • Electron microscopy – baseline samples have been generated for grass pollen  (Phleum pretense) and common mugwort. Additional baseline allergenic plants to be studies include Ragweed and English plantain.
  • Modeling – Pollen data from the National Allergy Bureau is being imputed into Bayesian models for pollen emissions. Initial data used the New Jersey station with data for the past 20 years. The next phase is to expand the modeling to most of the North America regions based on historical data.
  • Continued development of modules for estimating population exposures and doses to pollen.
  • Performance of systematic sensitivity, uncertainty, and variability analyses, focusing on how significant are the weather related changes from year to year, in relation to climate change impacts.

Journal Articles on this Report : 3 Displayed | Download in RIS Format

Other project views: All 63 publications 16 publications in selected types All 14 journal articles
Type Citation Project Document Sources
Journal Article Efstathiou C, Isukapalli S, Georgopoulos P. A mechanistic modeling system for estimating large scale emissions and transport of pollen and co-allergens. Atmospheric Environment 2011;45(13):2260-2276. R834547 (2010)
R834547 (Final)
R832721 (Final)
  • Full-text from PubMed
  • Abstract from PubMed
  • Associated PubMed link
  • Full-text: ScienceDirect-Full Text HTML
  • Abstract: ScienceDirect-Abstract
  • Other: ScienceDirect-Full Text PDF
  • Journal Article Hogrefe C, Isukapalli SS, Tang X, Georgopoulos PG, He S, Zalewsky EE, Hao W, Ku J-Y, Key T, Sistla G. Impact of biogenic emission uncertainties on the simulated response of ozone and fine particulate matter to anthropogenic emission reductions. Journal of the Air & Waste Management Association 2011;61(1):92-108. R834547 (2010)
    R834547 (Final)
  • Full-text from PubMed
  • Abstract from PubMed
  • Associated PubMed link
  • Full-text: ResearchGate-Full Text PDF
  • Abstract: Taylor & Francis-Abstract
  • Other: Taylor & Francis-Full Text PDF
  • Journal Article Ziska L, Knowlton K, Rogers C, Dalan D, Tierney N, Elder MA, Filley W, Shropshire J, Ford LB, Hedberg C, Fleetwood P, Hovanky KT, Kavanaugh T, Fulford G, Vrtis RF, Patz JA, Portnoy J, Coates F, Bielory L, Frenz D. Recent warming by latitude associated with increased length of ragweed pollen season in central North America. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 2011;108(10):4248-4251. R834547 (2010)
    R834547 (Final)
  • Full-text from PubMed
  • Abstract from PubMed
  • Associated PubMed link
  • Full-text: PNAS-Full Text HTML
  • Abstract: PNAS-Abstract
  • Other: PNAS-Full Text PDF
  • Supplemental Keywords:

    allergens, exposure, climate change, health effects, dose-response, RFA, Health, Scientific Discipline, Air, Health Risk Assessment, climate change, Risk Assessments, Environmental Monitoring, Ecological Risk Assessment, air quality modeling, ecosystem models, climatic influence, climate related morbidity, emissions impact, modeling, climate models, demographics, human exposure, regional climate model, ambient air pollution, Global Climate Change

    Relevant Websites:

    Progress and Final Reports:

    Original Abstract
  • 2011 Progress Report
  • 2012 Progress Report
  • 2013 Progress Report
  • 2014 Progress Report
  • Final Report