Aerobiology (UAB)

The Aerobiology programme at the IARC is carried out jointly by IARC-AEMET and the Laboratori d’Anàlisis Palinològiques (LAP) of the Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona (UAB) with partial financing from Air Liquide España S.A through the Eolo-PAT project. This programme started in 2004 at SCO with the aim of improving the knowledge of the pollen and spore content in the air of Santa Cruz de Tenerife and its relation with the prevalence of respiratory allergy. A second aerobiological station was implemented at IZO thanks to the financial support of the R+D National Plan CGL-2005-07543 project (“Origin, transport and deposition of African atmospheric aerosol in the Canaries and the Iberian Peninsula based on its Chemical and Aerobiological Characterization”). These two projects also contribute to improve the knowledge of the biological fraction of aerosols within the GAW program.

Main Scientific Goals

The main scientific goals of this programme are:

  •  To produce high quality standardized data on the biological component of the atmospheric aerosol.

  •  To establish the biodiversity and quantity of pollen and fungal spores registered in the air of Santa Cruz de Tenerife and Izaña.

  •  To establish the distribution pattern over the course of the year of the airborne pollen and fungal spores at Santa Cruz de Tenerife and Izaña, through the daily spectra.

  •  To put the Canary islands on the map of the global aerobiological panorama, along with the Spanish (REA; SEAIC) and European networks (EAN).

  •  To provide information useful for medical specialists and allergic patients.

  •  To set up the list of the allergenic pollen and spore taxa in the air of Santa Cruz de Tenerife and Izaña that will help doctors to diagnose the allergy aetiology and to rationalize the use of the medication.

  •   To produce weekly alerts on the allergenic pollen and spores for the days ahead to help doctors in the allergy detection and to help people suffering from allergies with a better planning of their activities and to improve the quality of their life.

Measurement Programme

The sampling instrument is a Hirst, 7-day recorder VPPS 2000 spore trap and the analysing instrument is a Light microscope, 600 X. The pollen and spore analysis is conducted using palynological methods following the recommendations of the Spanish Aerobiology Network management and quality manual and the recommendations of the European Aerobiology Society. The sampling programme at SCO is continuous through the year, whereas samples are only collected at IZO from April-May to November because of adverse meteorological conditions during the rest of the year.

Hirst, 7-day recorder VPPS 2000 spore trap at SCO (left) and at IZO (right)

Summary of remarkable results

The annual dynamics of the total pollen and total fungal spores taxa in Santa Cruz de Tenerife and Izaña . Data shown correspond to mean weekly concentrations.

Dynamics of the mean weekly Total Pollen concentrations in Santa Cruz de Tenerife (upper) and Izaña (lower) during 2017 in comparison with 2004-2016 mean data.


Dynamics of the mean weekly Total Fungal Spore concentrations in Santa Cruz de Tenerife (upper) and Izaña (lower) during 2017 in comparison with 2004-2016 mean data.


Similar graphs for each particular taxa can be generated on the webpage.

The plots show that the annual course of total concentration of pollen and fungal spores at SCO is very different from that observed at IZO, which presents a great interannual variation depending on weather conditions such as temperature and precipitation.

These results refer to total concentration of pollens and fungal spores. However individual pollens and fungal spores might have a quite different seasonal behaviour at each station.

A number of products, such as current levels and forecasts of the main allergenic pollens and fungal spores, historical and current data and pollen calendar for SCO can be found at the Tenerife Aerobiology information (Proyecto EOLO- PAT) webpage.

Future Activities

  •  Continuation of pollens and fungal spores sampling, and aerobiological data analysis.

  •  Update of the airborne pollen and spores databases.

  •  Improvement of the information provided through the webpage and services to its users.

  •  Trend analysis.

  •  Internannual variability versus meteorology.


Belmonte, J., Cuevas, E., Poza, P., González, R., Roure, J.M., Puigdemunt, R., Alonso-Pérez, S., Grau, F. Aerobiología y alergias respiratorias de Tenerife. Editor: Agencia Estatal de Meteorología/Ministerio de Medio Ambiente y Medio Rural y Marino, 2010. NIPO (versión electrónica): 784-10-006-2.

Belmonte, J., C. De Linares, A. Fernández-Llamazares, C. Díaz de la Guardia, P. Cariñanos, S, Alonso-Pérez, E. Cuevas, J.M. Maya, S. Fernández, I. Silva, R. Tormo, Airborne Pinus pollen in Spain: pollination patterns and trends of the annual indexes and the peak dates, 5th European Symposium on Aerobiology, Krakow, Poland, 3 – 7 September, 2012.

Belmonte, J., E. Cuevas: Proyecto EOLO-PAT. Estudio de alergenos en Canarias. Resumen anual de datos 2012. Bellaterra: Proyecto EOLO-PAT, 2013.

De Linares, C., Delgado, R., Aira, MJ., Alcázar, P., Alonso-Pérez, S., Boi, M., Cariñanos, P., Cuevas, E., Díaz de la Guardia, C., Elvira-Rendueles, B., Fernández-González, D., Galán, C., Gutiérrez-Bustillo, AM., Pérez-Badia, R., Rodríguez-Rajo, FJ., Ruiz-Valenzuela, L., Tormo-Molina, R., Trigo, MM., Valencia-Barrera, RM., Valle, A., Belmonte, J. Changes in the Mediterranean pine forest: pollination patterns and anual trends of airborne pollen. Aerobiologia, 33: 375-391, 2017.

Galán, C., Ariatti, A., Bonini, M., Clot, B., Crouzy, B., Dahl, A., Fernandez-González, D., Frenguelli, G., Gehrig, R., Isard, S., Levetin, E., Li, D.W., Mandrioli, P., Rogers, C.A., Thibaudon, M., Sauliene, I., Skjoth, C., Smith, M., Sofiev, M. Recommended terminology for aerobiological studies. Aerobiologia, 33: 293-295, 2017.


Dr Jordina Belmonte (UAB; Head of programme)

Dr Emilio Cuevas (AEMET; Co-PI)

Ramón Ramos (AEMET; Hirst sampler maintenance) Sergio Afonso (AEMET; Sampling)

Virgilio Carreño (AEMET; Sampling)

Rut Puigdemunt (UAB; Technical Analyst)

David Navarro (UAB; Technical Analyst)

Dr Concepción De Linares (UAB; Research Scientist)

Cándida Hernández (AEMET; Meteorological Observer- GAW Technician)

Concepción Bayo (AEMET; Meteorological Observer- GAW Technician)