Journal article

Atmospheric modelling of grass pollen rupturing mechanisms for thunderstorm asthma prediction

Kathryn M Emmerson, Jeremy D Silver, Marcus Thatcher, Alan Wain, Penelope J Jones, Andrew Dowdy, Edward J Newbigin, Beau W Picking, Jason Choi, Elizabeth Ebert, Tony Bannister



The world's most severe thunderstorm asthma event occurred in Melbourne, Australia on 21 November 2016, coinciding with the peak of the grass pollen season. The aetiological role of thunderstorms in these events is thought to cause pollen to rupture in high humidity conditions, releasing large numbers of sub-pollen particles (SPPs) with sizes very easily inhaled deep into the lungs. The humidity hypothesis was implemented into a three-dimensional atmospheric model and driven by inputs from three meteorological models. However, the mechanism could not explain how the Melbourne event occurred as relative humidity was very low throughout the atmosphere, and most available grass pollen remained ..

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Awarded by Victorian Department of Health and Human Services

Funding Acknowledgements

This research has been supported by the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services (contract no. C5949). funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.