Using a coupled groundwater/surfacewater model to predict climate-change impacts to lakes in the Trout Lake watershed, Northern Wisconsin

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Abstract

A major focus of the U.S. Geological Survey’s Trout Lake Water, Energy, and Biogeochemical Budgets (WEBB) project is the development of a watershed model to allow predictions of hydrologic response to future conditions including land-use and climate change. The coupled groundwater/surface-water model GSFLOW was chosen for this purpose because it could easily incorporate an existing groundwater flow model and it provides for simulation of surface-water processes. The Trout Lake watershed in northern Wisconsin is underlain by a highly conductive outwash sand aquifer. In this area, streamflow is dominated by groundwater contributions; however, surface runoff occurs during intense rainfall periods and spring snowmelt. Surface runoff also occurs locally near stream/lake areas where the unsaturated zone is thin. A diverse data set, collected from 1992 to 2007 for the Trout Lake WEBB project and the co-located and NSF-funded North Temperate Lakes LTER project, includes snowpack, solar radiation, potential evapotranspiration, lake levels, groundwater levels, and streamflow. The timeseries processing software TSPROC (Doherty 2003) was used to distill the large time series data set to a smaller set of observations and summary statistics that captured the salient hydrologic information. The timeseries processing reduced hundreds of thousands of observations to less than 5,000. Model calibration included specific predictions for several lakes in the study area using the PEST parameter estimation suite of software (Doherty 2007). The calibrated model was used to simulate the hydrologic response in the study lakes to a variety of climate change scenarios culled from the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (Solomon et al. 2007). Results from the simulations indicate climate change could result in substantial changes to the lake levels and components of the hydrologic budget of a seepage lake in the flow system. For a drainage lake lower in the flow system, the impacts of climate change are diminished. 

Additional publication details

Publication type Conference Paper
Publication Subtype Conference Paper
Title Using a coupled groundwater/surfacewater model to predict climate-change impacts to lakes in the Trout Lake watershed, Northern Wisconsin
Year Published 2009
Language English
Publisher U.S Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Description 6 p.
Larger Work Type Report
Larger Work Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Larger Work Title Planning for an uncertain future - Monitoring, integration, and adaptation (SIR2009-5049)
First page 155
Last page 161
Conference Title Third interagency conference on research in the watersheds
Conference Location Estes Park, CO
Conference Date September 8-11, 2008
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N