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Atmospheric Chemistry

Video: How experts put together allergy forecasts

C&EN takes a behind-the-scenes look at the work of pollen counters

by Tien Nguyen
May 8, 2019 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 97, ISSUE 19

 

Credit: Susan Kosisky/C&EN/ACS Productions

Every spring, microscopic grains of tree, weed, and grass pollen are released en masse, bringing with them an onslaught of seasonal allergies. It’s a busy time of year for both allergists and certified pollen counters, who provide almost daily reports on allergen levels for sniffling locals. Counting pollen requires a patient and discerning eye, but experts David Kerxton and Susan Kosisky have perfected their technique over the past two decades. They walked C&EN through the counting process and answered the question, How bad is this allergy season, really?

Music: “Bright idea” by Geographer, “English Country Garden” by Aaron Kenny, and “Bug catching” by Emily A. Sprague.

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