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CLIMATE CRISIS

‘Stress blooming’: Why is Austria covered in pollen?

The phenomenon, which is leaving cars, balconies and plants in Austria coated in yellow pollen, is known as "stress blooming" and is linked to climate change.

Blooming apricot trees in a garden in the village of Bacharnsdorf,
Austria is set for a record-breaking tree blooming season. (Photo by ALEX HALADA / AFP)

The Nature Conservation Association is warning 2022 will be a record-breaking year for tree blossom with a forecast of “pollen rain” – the mass blooming of trees – in Austria over the coming days and weeks.

This phenomenon is known as a “mast year”  (or “fattening year”) when several tree species undergo a synchronised mass propagation at the same time.

This year, almost all trees are blossoming at the same time, which experts believe to be a result of climate change.

According to Johannes Gepp, President of the Styrian Nature Conservation Association, Central Europe has experienced the flowering of some tree species every year for the last five years – something that only used to happen in intervals of seven years.

READ ALSO: How to deal with fruit flies plaguing your Austrian flat

Gepp said: “The phenomenon of the mass blossoming of our trees extends equally across the whole of Central Europe, at least across the entire Eastern Alps and all the foothills.” 

Recent dry periods might also be contributing to the stress blooming as nature’s way to restock forests after trees have died.

Gepp added: “Fattening years give opportunities for natural forest development. In the past 5 years, several mast years have yielded vast quantities of seeds, which grow into billions of young trees in our forests.”

This year, the Nature Conservation Association has already counted a quarter of a million flowers on a single field maple tree and 150,000 male inflorescences (a cluster of flowers on a branch) on a spruce.

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WEATHER

Austria heading into a rainy and cooler weekend after heatwave peak

After the heatwave reached its peak on Thursday with temperatures of up to 37C, the hot weather will subside (but not by much) as Austria gets showers and thunderstorms.

Austria heading into a rainy and cooler weekend after heatwave peak

Austria is experiencing one of the hottest summers in history and the effects of the hot and dry days can be seen all over the country.

From dried-out lakes to forest fires, the pictures showcasing the extreme weather’s impact are strong. The current heatwave, with temperatures above 30C every day since Saturday, August 13th, is set to peak this Thursday..

READ ALSO: IN PICTURES: How drought and extreme heat are affecting Austria

Still, it seems there will be some relief as the Austrian meteorologic agency ZAMG forecasts rainfall for the coming days in the country.

It starts on Thursday, with rain and thunderstorms forecast for western Austria, though temperatures are still high and the east, including Vienna, is less likely to see rain today.

From Friday, though, rain and thunderstorms are expected for the entire country, with extreme weather for strong winds and storms. Early temperatures will stay between 14C and 24C, but maximum temperatures in the west, where it should rain all day long, will often be around 20C.

READ ALSO: Wild weather in Austria: How to protect yourself during summer storms

In the east though, the sunniest locations could see the mercury rise to 35C.

On Saturday, early temperatures will be between 13C to 21C while daily maximum temperatures stay between 20C to 28C, with the east of Austria again seeing less rain and higher temperatures.

On Sunday, central regions of the country are likely to experience some rainfall, but by the afternoon most clouds will clear and showers will subside. Early morning temperatures will be between 11C and 20C, but will rise to between 22C to 28C later on in the day.

The weather will generally be sunny and dry next week, ZAMG reports. Daily maximum temperatures will be between 23C to 28C, according to the weather institute.

READ ALSO: How to avoid getting heat exhaustion in Austria’s scorching weather

What’s the weather going to be like in Vienna?

Friday will still be sunny and hot in Vienna, though the probability of showers and storms will increase near the evening hours. Daily maximum temperatures are around 33C.

Saturday morning is forecast to be rainy, but the skies will clear slightly during the day. Maximum temperatures will be around 26C.

On Sunday, some clouds still be present, which could lead to light rain, ZAMG says. Maximum daytime temperatures continue at 26C.

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