Pollen monitoring in Iceland
The Icelandic Institute of Natural History monitors annually, on a weekly basis, the concentration of air born pollens at two locations, in Reykjavik and Akureyri, from April 1st to September 31st. Pollen has been monitored in Reykjavik (later transferred to Gardabær) since the summer of 1988, and in Akureyri since 1998.
The pollen calendar is based on ten-day means and the large variation of air born pollen concentration is indicated wich colour coding
The pollen trap in Akureyri is located on the roof of Icelandic Institute of Natural History, at Borgir, Norðurslóð and the pollen trap in Garðabær is located on the roof of the Icelandic Institute of Natural History, at Urriðaholtsstræti 6-8.
Pollen counts for Grasses and Birch can be found during the summer and are updated once or tvice a week (Frjótala=Pollen concentration, reflects the mean accumulated number of pollens in cubic meter of air over 24 hours; Lítil=Low; Nokkur=Moderate; Mikil áhætta=High concentration; Meðaltal=Mean; Grasfrjó=Grass (Poaceae); Birki=Birch (Betula)).
Information on pollen conditions can be found in several European countries on the website for the European Pollen Information.
The first pollens appear in early April, and these are of Heath and Willows species (Ericaceae and Salix). In early May pollens of Cottonwood (Populus) are also found. Pollens of Alder species (Alnus spp.) are well known causes of allergies and these usually appear as early as late March to April. However, Alder pollens are but rarely caught in the pollen trap because Alder trees consist of a few and rather scattered garden plants and produce pollen somewhat before the start of the annual pollen monitoring. Birch wood (Betula spp.) begin to produce pollens in the middle of May and become most frequent during the first half of June. Grass pollen (Poaceae) are usually first noted by the beginning of June and remain fairly abuntant until September but reach their highest concentrations by mid July until the middle of August.
Pollen trap in Garðabær. Photo Ásrún Elmarsdóttir.