Ankara adopts a new pollen allergy alert system

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An airborne pollen early warning system is now available in the Turkish capital Ankara. The system, operated jointly by Ankara University and the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, will give hourly warnings to people with pollen allergies. Ankara is Turkey’s second city with such a system, first introduced in the western province of Izmir in 2019.

Speaking at a ceremony to sign a protocol on the system with officials from Ankara University on Thursday, Minister Bekir Pakdemirli said the alert system would be useful for people with pollen allergies, which are “observed in one in ten people”.

Early warning is crucial for allergy sufferers and a device measuring the amount of pollen in the air has been installed at the Ankara branch complex of the Turkish State Meteorological Services (TSMS). The ministry is also cooperating with Ankara University to develop algorithms on pollen forecasting. The device will feed data to an app where the public can access daily and hourly warnings of the onslaught of pollen. The ministry aims to install more such devices in other provinces as well.

Pollen allergy gets its name from the pollen grains that fertilize female flowers in the reproductive process of many plants. Pollen, produced by grasses, weeds and trees and spread by birds, insects and wind, triggers the symptoms of allergic rhinitis, colloquially known as hay fever. Although usually associated with spring, the pollen season can sometimes last for months.

Pakdemirli said at the ceremony that Turkey had been “lifted into the champions league” in meteorology thanks to its success in correct forecasts and improved technology, such as weather warnings broadcast to 4.8 million people. farmers who include an early warning system for frosts. “We are among the top ten countries in the world in terms of weather forecast accuracy. We will soon start publishing 15-day weather forecasts,” he said.

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