UK first realtime pollen count - now live!


The Manchester Urban Observatory is proud to announce that the UK’s first live pollen count is now publicly available through the Manchester-i open access data streaming platform. This is timely to detect the current maximum impact of the local tree pollen season, which extends from spring into the early summer, before grass pollen becomes dominant during summer and autumn. As another UK first, both the tree and grass pollen counts are available separately, which will allow members of the public to make informed decisions about their exposure to specific types of biological allergens. The total allergenic impact is also summarized as a total pollen load, which takes into account the typical allergic response of each species detected as certain pollens can produce a strong response at even very low counts. The Manchester Urban Observatory is run by the University of Manchester and has been funded by the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council as part of the UK Collaboratorium on Research in Infrastructure and Cities.

The real-time pollen count data can be found here.

Tree pollen concentration

This UK first is achieved using a state of the art Swisens Poleno real-time biological aerosol spectrometer which has now been deployed at the Fallowfield Manchester Environmental Research Institute air quality supersite for routine monitoring. The Poleno has been deployed at the supersite since November and details of this deployment can be found here. Individual pollen particles are imaged with two holographic cameras and are then optically identified in real-time using advanced machine learning techniques. The Poleno marks a significant increase in detection capability as it is not possible to achieve such a high time resolution and automate data outputs using traditional pollen counting methods, where daily total pollen counts are typical.

Pollen allergenic loading.

The real-time data provided via Manchester-i allows users to assess rising concentrations and then take steps to manage their exposure. We encourage members of the public who suffer from respiratory illnesses and hayfever to utilise this emerging capability to make informed decisions about their exposure to allergenic pollen and potentially mitigate resulting health impacts from high pollen load events by taking precautions when necessary. We welcome feedback and suggestions about this new capability (muo@manchester.ac.uk). Speciated pollen counts are also available upon request.

The Poleno is available to hire through the MUO equipment pool for urban projects and interested parties are invited to fill out the equipment request form and contact Ian Crawford (i.crawford@manchester.ac.uk) to discuss the objectives of the proposed deployment.