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Skjøth, C.; Testoni, C.; Šikoparija, B.; Smith, Matt; Bonini, M.; A.I.A.-R.I.M.A; Pollnet
Languages: English
Types: Unknown
Subjects: Q1
This study provides the first spatially detailed and complete inventory of Ambrosia pollen sources in Italy – the third largest centre of ragweed in Europe. The inventory relies on a well tested top-down approach that combines local knowledge, detailed land cover, pollen observations and a digital elevation model that assumes permanent ragweed populations mainly grow below 745m.\ud The pollen data were obtained from 92 volumetric pollen traps located throughout Italy during 2004-2013. Land cover is derived from Corine Land cover information with 100m resolution. The digital elevation model is based on the NASA shuttle radar mission with 90m resolution. The inventory is produced using a combination of ArcGIS and Python for automation and validated using cross-correlation and has a final resolution of 5km x 5km. The method includes a harmonization of the inventory with other European inventories for the Pannonian Plain, France and Austria in order to provide a coherent picture of all major ragweed sources.\ud The results show that the mean annual pollen index varies from 0 in South Italy to 6779 in the Po Valley. The results also show that very large pollen indexes are observed in the Milan region, but this region has smaller amounts of ragweed habitats compared to other parts of the Po Valley and known ragweed areas in France and the Pannonian Plain. A significant decrease in Ambrosia pollen concentrations was recorded in 2013 by pollen monitoring stations located in the Po Valley, particularly in the Northwest of Milan. This was the same year as the appearance of the Ophraella communa leaf beetle in Northern Italy.\ud These results suggest that ragweed habitats near to the Milan region have very high densities of Ambrosia plants compared to other known ragweed habitats in Europe. The Milan region therefore appears to contain habitats with the largest ragweed infestation in Europe, but a smaller amount of habitats is a likely cause the pollen index to be lower compared to central parts of the Pannonian Plain. A low number of densely packed habitats may have increased the impact of the Ophraella beetle and might account for the documented decrease in airborne Ambrosia pollen levels, an event that cannot be explained by meteorology alone. Further investigations that model atmospheric pollen before and after the appearance of the beetle in this part of Northern Italy are needed to assess the influence of the beetle on airborne Ambrosia pollen concentrations. Future work will focus on short distance transport episodes for stations located in the Po Valley, and long distance transport events for stations in Central Italy that exhibit peaks in daily airborne Ambrosia pollen levels.

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