Ragweed’s allergy provoking pollen will invade Europe by 2050. The plant, also known as Ambrosia artemisiifolia is not native to Europe, but it is an invasive plant which arrived from the US in the late 19th century.
According to a research published in the journal Nature Climate Change the increasingly warmer temperatures and climate changes will make Europe a friendly environment for ragweed to grow and spread. In addition the rising carbon dioxide levels will help the plant flourish.
Co-author of the study Robert Vautard from the Climate and Environment Sciences Laboratory in Yvette (France) said that parts of the United Kingdom, France and Germany will have the allergen by 2050. Ragweed has already established in northern Italy and the southeast of France. Daniel Chapman, an expert in invasive species from the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology in Edinburgh (Scotland) did not take part in the study, but he remarked:
“As warmer temperatures and higher carbon dioxide concentrations allow ragweed to become more vigorous and invade further north, we can expect to see many more allergy sufferers.”
The findings were based on computer models which looked 35 years into the future taking into account ragweed’s seed dispersal and pollen production. They also analyzed the prevailing wings which are usual for Europe and the most probable estimations for global warming which were published in the journal Nature Communications.
According to Vautard is individuals do not make major changes in emissions from coil, gas and oil the annual pollen count will increase from 100% to 1.100%. The average will be around 300%. One third of the increase of ragweed is explained by the land use and the fact that non-native plants take over new areas. The rest is accounted for by climate changes.
Climate changes have also caused the ragweed season to extend by up to three weeks in North America. Michael Kolian, climate scientist from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, was not part of the study, but he said that it is in accordance with previous studies and the U.S. National Climate Assessment according to which both climate changes and the increased levels of carbon dioxide have a contribution to the increase in the production of plant-based allergens.
Also known as bitter weed, black weed and American wormwood, ragweed is a global problem. The invasive plant is already spreading into South America, Australia and Japan.
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