A statistical approach to bioclimatic trend detection in the airborne pollen records of Catalonia (NE Spain)

Álvaro Fernández-Llamazares, Jordina Belmonte*, Rosario Delgado, Concepción De Linares

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


Airborne pollen records are a suitable indicator for the study of climate change. The present work focuses on the role of annual pollen indices for the detection of bioclimatic trends through the analysis of the aerobiological spectra of 11 taxa of great biogeographical relevance in Catalonia over an 18-year period (1994-2011), by means of different parametric and non-parametric statistical methods. Among others, two non-parametric rank-based statistical tests were performed for detecting monotonic trends in time series data of the selected airborne pollen types and we have observed that they have similar power in detecting trends. Except for those cases in which the pollen data can be well-modeled by a normal distribution, it is better to apply non-parametric statistical methods to aerobiological studies. Our results provide a reliable representation of the pollen trends in the region and suggest that greater pollen quantities are being liberated to the atmosphere in the last years, specially by Mediterranean taxa such as Pinus, Total Quercus and Evergreen Quercus, although the trends may differ geographically. Longer aerobiological monitoring periods are required to corroborate these results and survey the increasing levels of certain pollen types that could exert an impact in terms of public health.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)371-382
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Biometeorology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2014


  • Aerobiology
  • Bioclimatic indicator
  • Climate change
  • Non-parametric statistical test
  • Pollen record
  • Trend analysis


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