How we monitor pollen

The AusPollen Brisbane pollen monitoring information includes a four day forecast of grass pollen levels in the air around Brisbane. This pollen information is provided daily at about 11am during the peak allergy period (grass season) from November 1 to March 31 each year. The pollen level categories (low, moderate, high and extreme) provide a guide to the likelihood of being exposed to different levels of grass pollen.

When the pollen concentration is not available (e.g. holidays or weekends) the message “pollen concentration is unavailable” will be displayed, and pollen level for that day and next 3 days will still be forecasted, based on our modelling, and displayed. Over weekends and public holidays we collect daily pollen samples, which we count the following week to confirm the forecast given.

Prepare pollen drum

1. Prepare Drum

We place a piece of plastic tape covered with a sticky adhesive around a circular metal drum. This adhesive captures the pollen on the tape’s surface.

Collect Pollen

2.Collect/Change Drum

A drum is placed into an air sampler located at Oxley Creek Commons, Rocklea. After 24 hours this drum is collected and replaced by a newly prepared one. During the collection process, the volume of air entering the sampler is checked according to AusPollen Standards and Protocols. 

Prepare pollen sample

3. Prepare Sample

The exposed drum is taken to our laboratory and the tape is removed, placed on a microscope slide and stained using a purple dye. This dye allows us to see the pollen grains.

Count pollen

4. Count Pollen

Using a microscope, we identify and count different pollen grains on the slide. After counting the slide, we then use the pollen count values to calculate  pollen concentrations (number pollen grains per cubic meter of air). 

Forecast pollen

5. Report and Forecast Pollen

Using this pollen information and weather parameters, we use our specialised forecasting models to predict the grass pollen concentration level for that day and following 3 days.