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Ah ah CHOO! Pollen season starting earlier, lasting longer

FILE: The allergy drug Claritin sits on a shelf next to Benadryl in a pharmacy December 11, 2002 in New York City. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY — Pollen season is beginning earlier, lasting longer and packing more sneezes, according to researchers at the University of Utah.

They found that climate change is having a significant impact on pollen production. Researchers said this problem will only get worse, as pollen season becomes longer and more severe.

They studied pollen data from 60 different Northern America stations from 1990 to 2018.

Researchers found that pollen seasons now are starting about 20 days sooner than they did in the 1990s and lasting about 10 days longer. Pollen loads have also increased 21% since 1990, according to the study published Monday in the journal the Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences.

“This is a crystal clear example that climate change is here and it’s in every breath we take,” lead author William Anderegg, U of U biologist and climate scientist, told the Associated Press.

“In the near term — particularly the next decade or two — this very likely indicates we are in for longer and more severe pollen seasons,” he added, according to KSL.com.

Anderegg said warming temperatures in winter and early spring and more plant-feeding carbon dioxide produce more pollen.

Since the 2000s, he said, we can blame about 65% of earlier pollen seasons on global warming; we can also blame about 8% of the increased pollen load on climate change.

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