Modelling the spread of ragweed: Effects of habitat, climate change and diffusion
Fakultät für Physik der Universität Wien, Vienna, Austria
2 Now HASYLAB at DESY, Hamburg, Germany
3 Umweltbundesamt, Vienna, Austria
4 VINCA, Vienna Institute for Nature Conservation and Analyses, Vienna, Austria
Corresponding author: email@example.com
Ragweed (Ambrosia artemisiifolia L.) is an annual plant native in North America which has been invading Central Europe for 150 years. Caused by the warming of the European climate its spread process has accelerated in the last few decades. The pollen of ragweed evokes heavy allergies and – what probably counts even more – because of its bloom rather late in summer causes a second wave of allergy when other pollen allergies have decayed. We have reconstructed the invasion process of ragweed in Austria by collecting all records until the year 2005. Austria was subdivided into more than 2600 grid cells of ≈ each. Ragweed records were related to environmental descriptors (average temperatures, land use, etc.) by means of logistic regression models, and the suitability of grid cells as habitat for ragweed was determined. This enabled modelling of the diffusive spread of ragweed from 1990 to 2005. The results of the simulations were compared with the observed data, and thus the model was optimised. We then incorporated regional climate change models, in particular increased July mean temperatures of in 2050, increasing considerably future habitat suitability. This is used for predicting the drastic dispersal of ragweed during the forthcoming decades.
© EDP Sciences, Springer-Verlag, 2008