Pollen season has begun in Finland, to the irritation of people with pollen allergies.
Spring isn't quite in the air in Finland, but blooming plants in Europe and Sweden emit pollen that's then carried by the wind to Finland, setting off people's allergies. However, the Natural Resources Institute estimates that birch pollen levels will be low this year all around the country.
Researcher Taru Hokkanen says this will be the third year in a row when birch pollen levels are lower than usual. The situation is unique, pollen stats having been mapped for some 40 years.
"Many people who suffer from pollen allergies will have a fairly easy spring," Hokkanen says. "Silver birch estimates show very low figures and the downy birch pollen situation also looks a little better."
The low pollen count is caused by the weather conditions over the two periods before the flowering season, the physiological state of the trees and the characteristics of the trees' habitat, among other factors.