Seems it’s not just polar bears and politicians who need to be concerned about global warming. According to a new study, allergy sufferers are going to be in for a hard time too. Researchers from the US Department of Agriculture have discovered that ragweed pollen levels are rising along with the temperatures.
The team of researchers, who analyzed ragweed pollen counts from Texas to Saskatoon over a 15-year period , also concluded that the length of the ragweed season, which is dependent on warm temperatures, would increase in northern latitudes.
From 1995 – 2009, Madison and LaCrosse, WI saw an increase in their ragweed season of 12 and 13 days respectively while Minneapolis, MN and Fargo, ND, saw their ragweed season increase in length by 16 days. Further north, in Winnipeg and Saskatoon the ragweed seasons lengthened by 25 – 27 days.
“This study is a confirmation of what the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has been projecting. We’ve gone from a theoretical projection of changes in the timing of ragweed season, to boots on the ground starting to see it happen,” said study author Lewis Ziska, a plant physiologist at the Agricultural Research Service.
This all adds up to a lot of summer suffering. At least 1 in every 10 people in the United States is sensitive to ragweed and the pollen is the culprit in more than a quarter of all allergy cases.