19th Symposium on Boundary Layers and Turbulence
29th Conference on Agricultural and Forest Meteorology
Ninth Symposium on the Urban Environment


Modeling pollen flow in complex terrain using a Lagrangian dispersion model

Brian J. Viner, Iowa State Univ., Ames, IA; and R. W. Arritt

Mountains and valleys create local circulations that affect pollen dispersion. The cultivation of GM crops in complex terrain prompts the need for accurate modeling of dispersion in these regions. While studies of atmospheric gas dispersion in complex terrain are available, studies of pollen dispersion are sparse. We have combined a high-resolution atmospheric dynamical model with a Lagrangian dispersion model to create a framework for predicting pollen dispersion in complex terrain.

A case reported by Watrud et al. (2004) found cross-pollination of non-GM bentgrass in complex terrain occurred at distances of more than 20 km from the nearest GM source. This is an order of magnitude or more greater than typical recommendations for isolation distances. As a test for our model, we simulated six days from the bentgrass case that coincided with the days suggested as most likely for long-range cross-pollination. We used simulated winds at 1-minute intervals to drive the dispersion model and predicted the movement of particles forward-in-time.

We simulated pollen dispersion to distances over twenty kilometers from its source. Deposition was predicted in the locations where outcross was reported by Watrud et al. (2004). Our model also predicted that terrain produces complex patterns of pollen deposition, so that simple methods often used to compute pollen dispersion will produce misleading results.


Watrud, L. S., E. H. Lee, A. Fairbrother, C. Burdick, J. R. Reichman, M. Bollman, M. Storm, G. King and P. K. Van de Water, 2004: Evidence for landscape-level, pollen-mediated gene flow from genetically modified creeping bentgrass with CP4 EPSPS as a marker. Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci., 101, 14533-14538.

wrf recordingRecorded presentation

Joint Session 7, Modeling in Heterogeneous, Complex, and Urban Terrain II
Thursday, 5 August 2010, 10:30 AM-11:45 AM, Red Cloud Peak

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