1.4 Developing Pollen Allergy Risk Maps from Remote Sensing Observations for Public Health Advisories and Warning

Monday, 23 January 2017: 11:45 AM
Conference Center: Tahoma 5 (Washington State Convention Center )
Ghassem R. Asrar, Joint Global Change Research Institute/PNNL, College Park, MD; and Y. Zhou, X. LI, and A. Sapkota

Pollen exposure is a major risk factor for allergic diseases such as asthma and hay fever, which contribute substantially to morbidity and loss of productivity. Most recent estimate suggest that over 26 million Americans are currently living with asthma, and approximately 50 percent of them reported having an asthma attack in the past year, the majority of which could have been avoided. A reliable pollen monitoring system is currently not available, which is a considerable impediment to the development of early health warning and advisory. In the absence of such a pollen monitoring system world wide, there is an opportunity to explore the potential of space-based Earth observations to infer ground level pollen dynamics that can be used by both medical and public health authorities for treatment as well as allergy health advisories and warnings.

We describe the methodology for how the onset, duration, and peak time for pollen release from different vegetation types can be derived from remotely sensed observations, and how the resulting information used to quantify the duration and severity of a pollen-related allergy season. We present how observations from MODIS and Landsat-TM sensors are used to derive start, peak, end and duration of pollen release for important allergenic pollen from trees in the Spring, grasses in the Summer, and ragweed in the Fall seasons. The resulting information and allergy risk maps demonstrate the usefulness data from Earth observing satellites for capturing seasonal, annual, and inter-annual changes in vegetation types, and their phenology that affect severity of pollen production. They will be useful to local, regional and global health authorities, practitioners, and concerned communities and can be easily disseminated through existing allergy health networks.

- Indicates paper has been withdrawn from meeting
- Indicates an Award Winner