Pollen Affects The Weather And Can Make It Rain

Pollen is everywhere in the summertime and can be almost lethal to many humans, causing our eyes to water and our noses to run and sneeze. Pollen is actually a powder and a coarse one at that. It also has a hard coat that protects it while it moves. However, what effect does pollen have on the weather? – in more ways than we realized.

Tiny Particles Collecting in the Air
Pollen grains contain vegetative cells and a reproductive cell. Ragweed, curly dock, lambs quarters, pigweed, sheep sorrel and sagebrush, just to name a few, are all guilty of producing pollen. Sometimes rain is the only relief and the only way to make this pollen disappear.

Rainfall acts as a sponge and scrubs the pollen out of the air in a sense. What hasn’t been known until now, is that the pollen may actually be a cause of the rain. Raindrops are larger than the grains of pollen, so when the rain falls, it takes the pollen along with it. Thus, when it rains in the fall or early winter, it’s possible for there to be more pollen the following spring. Trees such as cedars and oak, as well as some grass species help in the production of pollen when there’s heavier rainfall in the colder seasons.

Pollen More Instrumental the Once Thought
The relationship between the weather and pollen hasn’t been investigated into too deeply. It is known that a mild winter will allow trees to start pollinating earlier in the season and dry, windy weather helps the pollen spread much quicker than it normally would. But researchers have been studying the water cycle and cloud formation and have designed computer algorithms to understand its impact.

Atmospheric scientists once thought that pollen particles were too large to affect the weather, as opposed to dust. Small particles in the air attract available moisture, pulling it together, eventually causing rain. Allison Steiner, an associate professor of atmospheric, oceanic and space sciences at the University of Michigan felt that perhaps pollen affects the weather more so than previously believed. According to her, the pollen particles can rupture from water vapor and separate into many tinier particles. These tinier particles are able to take up more water vapor that’s in the air and can promote the formation of clouds, and eventually rain, the same way other particles are known to do.

Nature, pollen and all, is a big reason we travel. Check out this film of some of the world’s most beautiful sights: