The Met Office Pollen Forecast goes live

25 03 2015

Different types of pollen, released at varying times throughout the year, cause millions to suffer from hay fever and other allergies and these symptoms can have a serious impact on well-being. The Met Office counts pollen from March to August, however, pollen can be in the air much earlier – from January right through to November.

The pollen season has three main pollen type phases :

  1. Tree pollen – late March to mid-May.
  2. Grass pollen – mid-May to July.
  3. Weed pollen – end of June to September

Our pollen calendar has a detailed breakdown of the different types of pollen and their peak times within a season. We manage the only pollen count monitoring network in the UK using information from our network, our weather data and expertise from organisations such as the National Pollen and Aerobiological Unit and PollenUK to produce forecasts that help support allergy and hay fever sufferers through the most difficult time of the year.

There are millions of hay fever sufferers across the UK, and the Met Office forecasts provide vital information to help reduce the impact pollen has on their health.  At this time of year, tree pollen is more prevalent with grass and weed pollens becoming more prevalent from mid May onwards.

Yolanda Clewlow said: “The best way to manage your condition, if you suffer from hayfever, is to keep an eye on the Met Office pollen forecasts to help you understand the best time to take appropriate medication and avoid exposure to pollen.”

We provide free, public pollen forecasts to all of the UK.

Pollen Diary

As part of an important Europe-wide study, hay fever sufferers are recording their symptoms online through the European Aeroallergen Network (EAN) Patient’s Hay fever Diary.

Document your symptoms and compare them with concentrations of pollen in the air, to help identify which pollen you are allergic to, look back at pollen levels from previous seasons and read the latest pollen news. This is a long-term study that will significantly aid research into pollen and hay fever.

Sign up to the pollen diary.

Pollen Maps

Together with Public Health England we have produced species location maps for the south west of key allergenic plant species (Cornwall, Devon, Somerset). The maps show the locations of six different tree and plant species – grass, alder, ash, birch, oak and pine – key allergenic plants for asthma and hayfever.

The pollen forecasts are part of a range of weather-related services offered by the Met Office, which include UV indexHeat Health watch and data supporting the UK air quality forecasts.

 





July starts dry, sunny and warm

17 07 2013

Early Met Office figures for the first half of July show that it has been warmer, drier and sunnier than usual so far this month.

We’ve now had 11 days with temperatures over 28 °C somewhere in the UK, making it the longest hot spell since 2006.

The UK mean temperature up to the 15th July is 16.1 °C, a degree above the long term average for the whole of the month. The days have been particularly warm so far, with the average maximum temperature for the UK being 21.3 °C, 2 degrees above normal.

Rainfall for the UK from 1-15 July was 9.2 mm. At this stage we would expect to have seen about 48 % of the full month average, however we have only seen 12 %. We have seen less than 5 mm widely across much of England and parts of eastern Scotland (many locations with only 1 or 2 mm).

Up to the 15th we have seen 132 hours of sunshine across the UK, which is 77 % of the full month average. Again, we would have expected to have seen about 48% at this point in an ‘average’ month.

Looking at the individual countries, Scotland’s mean temperature has been 14.4 °C (1.2 °C above average) and Northern Ireland’s has been 16.3 °C (1.7 °C above average). England’s has been 17.0 °C (0.7 °C above average), and Wales’ has been 16.3 °C (1.1 °C above average).

Wales had the most sunshine with 155 hours, which is 86 % of the full-month long-term average.

England has seen the least rainfall for the first half of the month with 4.0 mm, just 6 % of the long term July average. Scotland has seen the most rain with 16.8 mm, but even that is only 17 % of the full-month average.

To put this in context, the driest July on record across the UK was in 1955 when there was 30.6 mm of rain. With only 9 mm of rain so far in the UK this July, this is likely to be a very dry month but – with two weeks to go – it’s too early to say where it will end up in the national series dating back to 1910.

For the longer running England and Wales precipitation record which dates back to 1766, the record driest July was in 1825 with just 8 mm of rain. England and Wales have seen just 4 mm so far this month, but – again – it’s too early to judge where it will end up in the records.

With regards to sunshine hours, 1955 is the sunniest July on record with 256 hours of sunshine, with 2006 close behind with 253 hours.

The warmest July on record is 2006 with a UK mean temperature of 17.8 °C; this is also the warmest month in the national record which goes back to 1910.

Mean Temperature Sunshine hours Rainfall  
1-15 July Actual Diff from Avg Actual % of Avg Actual % of Avg
  degC degC hours % mm %
UK 16.1 1 132.1 77 9.2 12
England 17 0.7 147.2 76 4 6
Wales 16.3 1.1 154.7 86 8.7 9
Scotland 14.4 1.2 104.1 74 16.8 17
N Ireland 16.3 1.7 114 81 15.7 19

The reason behind this very warm weather is an area of high pressure which has been sitting right above the UK since the start of the month.

This dry weather is in sharp contrast to last year’s wet weather and follows on from a dry June this year.

The Environment Agency measures water resources in England every week to assess how dry the soils are and how much rain they can soak up, the amount of water flowing in rivers, stored below ground in aquifers and above ground in reservoirs, and the outlook for the coming months.

Trevor Bishop, head of water resources at the Environment Agency, said: “Last year’s exceptionally wet summer and autumn has left us in a fairly good water resources position, with most rivers, reservoirs and underground water stores around normal for the time of year. Some river levels are dropping as a result of the hot, dry spell that we are enjoying, and we would urge everyone to continue use water wisely, to protect water supplies and the environment.”

More information can be found in their latest water situation report.





Very high levels of grass pollen forecast across much of UK

12 07 2013

As the hot period of weather continues across most of the UK, very high levels of grass pollen are forecast.

One in five people suffer from hay fever across the nation. The Met Office pollen forecast shows most parts of the country will see either high or very high pollen counts.

The east and south east of England, London, the Midlands plus Wales will see some of the highest grass pollen levels during this period, but elsewhere the risk should gradually decrease.

The only exception to this is in Orkney and Shetland where the counts will be moderate. Any local rainfall should help to reduce discomfort.

Benadryl® sponsors the Met Office’s pollen forecast, drawing on our latest weather forecast information. By combining this with UK pollen readings, detailed forecasts are prepared and linked to locations across the country. Visit the Met Office website for an easy-to-view pollen forecast in your region.

The pollen season is split into three main phases with the grass pollen season lasting from mid May through to Aug. Our pollen calendar has a detailed breakdown of the different types of pollen and their peak times within the season.

pollenforecast





High levels of grass pollen forecast

19 06 2013

With many parts of the UK seeing periods of warmer, drier weather over the next few days, high pollen counts are forecast in places.

So far this season, we have seen relatively low pollen counts, due to the unsettled weather we’ve been experiencing at times. However, with the finer and warmer weather we’ve been experiencing, high pollen counts are forecast across many parts of the country.

The pollen forecast, sponsored by Benadryl®, uses our latest weather forecast information and combines this with pollen readings from across the UK. Detailed forecasts are available for locations across the UK via the Met office website.

Yolanda Clewlow, Health Manager at the Met Office said: “We have seen some very high pollen counts during the recent fine weather. Further high counts are also expected during periods of warmer, drier weather across most parts of England and Wales. However in Scotland the risk will be low to moderate. We would therefore recommend that hay fever sufferer’s check the Met Office pollen forecast every day and do all that they can to manage their symptoms.”

The pollen season is split into three main phases with the grass pollen season lasting from mid May through to Aug. Our pollen calendar has a detailed breakdown of the different types of pollen and their peak times within the season.
The latest detailed pollen forecast for your area can be found on the Met Office website.





High pollen count forecast this week

4 06 2013

The cold and unsettled weather that the UK saw this spring has lead to relatively low pollen counts so far this season. However, with fine and warm weather expected during the rest of the first week of June, high pollen counts are forecast across many parts of the country.

The pollen forecast, sponsored by Benadryl®, uses our latest weather forecast information and combine this with pollen readings from across the UK.

Yolanda Clewlow, Health Manager at the Met Office said: “The cold weather the UK saw in spring has kept pollen counts low, but as expected we have seen some very high pollen counts during the recent fine weather. Further high counts are expected during the settled, drier weather this week. We would therefore recommend that hay fever sufferer’s check the Met Office pollen forecast every day and do all that they can to manage their symptoms.”

The pollen season is split into three main phases with the grass pollen season lasting from mid May through to Aug. Our pollen calendar has a detailed breakdown of the different types of pollen and their peak times within a season.

The latest detailed pollen forecast for your area can be found on the Met Office website.





How is the weather affecting pollen?

17 07 2012

The weather has been very unsettled during June and the start of July, and this has been reflected in the pollen counts. As we predicted back in May, there have been some very high counts, but there have also been some days when the pollen has been washed out by the heavy rain.

The heavy rain we have seen has maintained the strong growth of native plants that started with the very wet April.  This means that there is an ample supply of pollen from grasses and weeds such as nettle. However, the unsettled weather has meant that pollen counts have fluctuated significantly from day to day and place to place.

Further high pollen counts are expected during any drier and sunnier interludes. This will increasingly come from weed pollens.

The graph below shows how the pollen count has changed significantly from day to day this summer, in response to the weather, and that on high days it has been much higher than last summer:

Pollen count has changed significantly from day to day this summer in response to the weather.

Patrick Sachon, Health Manager at the Met Office said: “The unsettled weather this summer has led to a fluctuating pollen count but as expected we have seen some very high levels when the weather has been good. Further high counts are expected during any settled, drier weather. We would therefore recommend that hay fever sufferers check the pollen forecast sponsored by Benadryl, every day and do all that they can to manage their symptoms.”





Wet weather has increased pollen count

28 06 2012

In May the Met Office warned that the wet weather we had seen in April was promoting strong grass growth and that this could lead to high grass pollen counts later in the year.

Over recent days, observed pollen counts from the Met Office managed pollen monitoring network, have been very high on dry days at a number of stations, especially across parts of central and southern England. As we move into the weekend pollen counts are expected to remain at moderate to high levels in many areas, depending on the local weather, with further very high counts where the weather is dry.

The graph below shows the difference between this years and last years pollen count:

Patrick Sachon, Health Manager at the Met Office said: “In May we warned that the wet weather could lead to a high grass pollen count during the summer. As expected we have seen some very high pollen counts when the weather has been good. Further high counts are expected during drier and sunnier interludes. We would therefore recommend that hay fever sufferers do all they can to equip themselves to manage their symptoms.”





Brighter weather will lead to higher pollen counts

18 06 2012

The recent unsettled weather has kept pollen levels much lower than normal for the time of year. However, this week the weather is expected to be drier, brighter and a little more settled than recent weeks and as a result we expect to see a rise in the amount of pollen. 

Pollen levels, which are mostly from grass pollen at this time of year, could reach high or even very high in central and some southern areas. 

People with hay fever should keep up to date with the pollen forecast this week, which is available on the Met office website and is sponsored by Benadryl®. The pollen forecast uses our latest weather forecast information and combines this with pollen readings from across the UK. 

There are millions of hay fever sufferers across the UK, and the Met Office forecasts provide vital information to help reduce the impact pollen has on their health. 

Health Manager at the Met Office, Patrick Sachon said: ”Following the rain we saw in April and the rain over the last few weeks, grass has grown well, more than last year, when it was much drier. This is therefore expected to cause higher levels of grass pollen than last year. ”The Met Office forecast for the next couple of days is for the UK to be drier and a little more settled that of late in most areas. Occasional showers are likely but with plenty of bright or sunny spells and temperatures in the high teens or low twenties in some parts. This will lead to much higher pollen counts than in recent weeks. This means that those who suffer from hay fever will need to keep an eye the pollen count over the next few days.”

The pollen forecast is part of the wide range of weather-related services offered by the Met Office, which also include the UV index and Heat Health watch.

Find out more about the Met Office pollen forecast.





Slow start to pollen season

25 05 2012

Although the pollen season has had a slow start, levels are starting to increase following the settled weather the UK has seen over the last week.

Our pollen forecast, sponsored by Benadryl, uses our latest weather forecast information and combine this with pollen readings from across the UK. There are millions of hay fever sufferers across the UK, and the Met Office forecasts provide vital information to help reduce the impact pollen has on their health.

At this time of year, grass pollen becomes more prevalent.

Health Manager at the Met Office, Patrick Sachon said: ”Following the heavy and consistent rain we saw in April and early May, we are seeing the grass grow quicker than this time last year, when it was much drier. This is therefore expected to cause higher levels of grass pollen than last year.

”The Met Office forecast for the weekend is for the UK to remain warm and dry in most areas, with temperatures in the mid twenties in many parts. This means that those who suffer from hay fever will need to keep an eye the pollen count over the next few days.”

The pollen forecast is part of the wide range of weather-related services offered by the Met Office, which also include the UV index and Heat Health watch.

If you are suffering from hay fever, you can also record your symptons on the Benedryl pollen count tool.

Find out more about the pollen forecast.





Wet weather could increase pollen count in hay fever season

4 05 2012

There has been a number of news stories in the press about the impact the recent wet weather could have on the pollen count later in the year. In the Telegraph, Patrick Sachon, Met Office Health Business Manager, said: ‘The wet weather is definitely helping the grass grow so if we have dry weather in May and June it would mean a high grass pollen count, and grass pollen affects 95 per cent of sufferers.”

The Daily Mail reported:

Trees need a cold snap before they come out of winter dormancy, and the sudden chill in February, followed by a warm March, gave the perfect kick-start to their growing season.

What’s more, birch trees tend to have high and low alternating pollen years. Last year saw relatively low birch pollen counts from the trees’ catkins, so this year’s counts were expected to be high. The suffering could have been even worse but for the torrential rain.

Professor Jean Emberlin, a scientific consultant to Allergy UK, says: ‘We have had a run of very high pollen counts in a lot of areas, which has made it a bad season for some people.

‘Rain washes the pollen out of the air so people aren’t exposed to it. But if you get a day without rain, and if it’s windy, the pollen will disperse from the trees.’

The Met Office pollen forecast is now available, you can check the forecast in your local area and record your symptoms on the Benadryl social pollen count application. Our new pollen in the UK infographic can help identify when to expect the peak periods for each type of pollen and where in the UK has the highest pollen count.

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