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Pollen swimming and identifying the swirls in a river in Alaska. "Pollen" by iconolith is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

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Alaska gets it first pollen when the snow is still on the ground

Millions of people suffer from allergies caused by antigenic proteins in airborne pollen and spores during the pollen and spore season. Pollen concentrations increase in the blooming season of pollen-producing plants in response to warm and dry weather conditions, while concentrations of many spores typically increase under long-lasting humid conditions.

Convective weather situations lift pollen and spores from the atmospheric boundary layer into the free atmosphere. Here, wind speeds are much higher than close to the surface. Thus, once being there, pollen and spores can undergo long-range transport until they are either removed by precipitation, or mixed down and removed by dry deposition. As a consequence of this transport, Alaska gets its first pollen long before breakup.

Did you know that Alaska gets already pollen before breakup? Click To Tweet

Pollen in Interior Alaska

However, it is not this pollen allergic Alaskans worry about. They worry about the local pollen and spores release. In Interior Alaska, the taiga has a lot of spruce, willows, birch and alder. The discontinuous permafrost leads to many little lakes. The meandering rivers have a lot of dead arms and arms that are only connected with the river during floods. These waters are great sources for spore production.

pollen on burgundy lumber
Pollen that deposited on burgundy lumber within one night.


The year-to-year variability in pollen/spore concentrations and documented response to allergies are huge. The production of birch pollen correlates to the average temperature in the second week after the main peak in birch pollen in the preceding year and the average temperature of April in the current year.

#FocusAlaska Pollen spruce (left) Birch (right)
Pollen under the microscope. Left: Spruce. Right: Birch. Photos courtesy to J. Anderson (2004)


Each pollen or spore type has a different look to them when magnified under a microscope. Birch pollen is much smaller than spruce pollen (see photos). However, for the bare eye pollen looks just yellow in the Interior see first photo of this post).

Pollen turns everything yellow in spring

When I lived in Europe (Germany, France), I never have seen so much pollen like in Interior Alaska. Here every spring birch, alder, and spruce nearly bloom at the same time. Fairbanks is surrounded by forest and forest and even more forest. Fairbanks is like an island in an ocean of forest. Thus, in May, our burgundy colored deck turns yellow (see first photo). Even our red car looks yellow.

Pollen deposits on asphalt in Interior Alaska
Pollen that had collected in a puddle as seen after the puddle evaporated


After a spring shower all the pollen gathers in the puddles. It looks like some icky industrial waste of who knows what it is. After the puddles dry out a yellow layer remains on the ground (see photo). When I came in 2001, I wondered what that was seeing it for the first time.

Have you ever seen so much pollen in one place? If so, where? Are you allergic to any of the above mentioned pollen?

mature fashion blogger in Karina dress styled for the weekend
Karina dress navy with red floral dress with sun hat, Gloria Vanderbilt open-toe pumps, collier de chien bracelets, and Chanel quilted bag (all own)

Weekend outfit

Now to the outfit of the day. We had a three-day weekend in the US because of Memorial Day. Thus, I went for a weekend vacation style of outfit with my Karina dress. You may have seen this summer dress in a winterized form before. As it is now much warmer than back then, I styled my with a straw hat and open-toe pumps and a chain bag to go out for dinner. The weather was beautiful so we enjoyed dinner outside in the midnight sun.

What do you do on a long weekend? Do you dress-up or dress down? What’s your favorite weekend style? Let me know I am curious.

P.S. I found a Karina promo code Hello20 that is valid this Memorial Day weekend to chip 20% your purchase of a on their site.

over 50 years old fashion blogger in a dress styled with sunhat for the weekend
Karina dress styled with sun hat, Chanel bag, and Gloria Vanderbilt open toe pumps (all own) for a weekend dinner outfit


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Photos: N. Mölders, G. Kramm

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