A standard pollen calendar is presented for the benefit of allergic persons, physicians and others in the Fairbanks area. It is a graphic device showing the range of possible atmospheric pollen concentrations for each day of the main pollen season, late April through July, based on data from past years. It can be used for predicting probable daily average concentrations when the weather is relatively warm, dry, and breezy, and it shows when there almost certainly will be some pollen in the air. A core pollen season of prophylactic and clinical urgency is defined from May 10 to June 5, the same as in Anchorage.
The 40 or so species in the vegetation of the Fairbanks area contributing significant quantities of airborne pollen are grouped into five generic (alder, willow, poplar/aspen, birch and spruce) and one family (grass) taxonomic categories, plus an “Other” pollen category comprising the weeds lamb’s quarters, plantain and wormwood, among others.
A standard pollen calendar must be based on a multiyear data set encompassing the full range of natural variation in pollen season severity and the timing of pollen release and dispersal. Because the present calendar is based on only six seasons’ data, 1982-1987, and most of these are from only one sample location, it is considered prototypical. Continued sampling in Interior Alaska, part of a broader aerobiology research program, will result in a more nearly standard and meaningful pollen calendar.
This calendar shows possible allergenic pollen content of the air for each day based on the past activity. It incorporates data from six years of sampling at the University and two at Fort Wainwright.
James H. Anderson, MLIS, PhD
Institute of Arctic Biology and BioSciences Library
University of Alaska Fairbanks