Global warming is happening and as it does, its effects take place, making us the very casualties of our own irresponsible behavior towards nature. We will be kicked by more sneezing and wheezing due to the ragweed pollen levels that are likely to quadruple, due to climate change.
Warmer temperatures allow plants to catch deeper roots into the ground, with carbon dioxide allowing them to develop more. According to a new study published in the journal Nature Climate Change, the high levels of ragweed will cause damage to those who suffer from hay fever.
Europe will be the main affected area, although ragweed isn’t native to Europe, but rather imported from America in the late 19th century. The plant causes damage to the ones who develop allergies to its components and may do harm to the point of extending the hay fever season from summer to autumn. Last year only, the ragweed pollen levels went through the roof in the East Midlands. Violent hay fever attacks caused emergency state amongst many of us who suffer from allergies.
This weed is a much more potent and violent allergy trigger than grass and experts are now facing a troublesome thought, as it could pose a serious public health problem if it becomes established and if the levels of ragweed will indeed grow as reported.
Significant increases in pollen load are likely to occur in places like north-central Europe, Northern France and Southern England, where ragweed used to be a rare plant. Depending on the weather conditions and the speed of dispersal, pollen levels in some of the mentioned locations could rise as much as 12 times.
Our environment is already out of control, with nature taking its course and reacting naturally to all the damage we have caused in the last centuries. Controlling the current European ragweed invasion will be very difficult in the future, as the environment becomes favorable for ragweed growth and spread, signaling an alarm call which should rush us into developing efficient and regionally coordinated eradication programs.
Violent ragweed spread was expected regardless of the temperatures rising. It seems that once it grows roots, it is very difficult to eradicate. Its seeds can live for very long and are very resistant to weather conditions while its capacities to re-sprout after cutting are pretty steady. Also, ragweed is such a strong herb that can evolve resistance to herbicides, according to the scientists.
Europe is not the only area strongly affected by violent ragweed spread, earlier studies have shown that its pollen season in North America has lengthened by three weeks in some areas, and this happened most probably due to climate change.
Image Source: hiltonpond.org