Mid-Holocene Hydrologic Model of the Shingobee Watershed, Minnesota

Filby, Sheryl
Locke, Sharon
Gutowski, William
Person, Mark
Winter, Thomas
Rosenberry, Donald
Nieber, John
Gutowski, William
Ito, Emi
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A hydrologic model of the Shingobee Watershed in north-central Minnesota was developed to reconstruct mid-Holocene paleo-lake levels for Williams Lake, a surface-water body located in the southern portion of the watershed. Hydrologic parameters for the model were first estimated in a calibration exercise using a 9-yr historical record (1990–1998) of climatic and hydrologic stresses. The model reproduced observed temporal and spatial trends in surface/groundwater levels across the watershed. Mid-Holocene aquifer and lake levels were then reconstructed using two paleoclimatic data sets: CCM1 atmospheric general circulation model output and pollen-transfer functions using sediment core data from Williams Lake.

Calculated paleo-lake levels based on pollen-derived paleoclimatic reconstructions indicated a 3.5-m drop in simulated lake levels and were in good agreement with the position of mid-Holocene beach sands observed in a Williams Lake sediment core transect. However, calculated paleolake levels based on CCM1 climate forcing produced only a 0.05-m drop in lake levels. We found that decreases in winter precipitation rather than temperature increases had the largest effect on simulated mid-Holocene lake levels. The study illustrates how watershed models can be used to critically evaluate paleoclimatic reconstructions by integrating geologic, climatic, limnologic, and hydrogeologic data sets.

<p>This article is from <em>Quaternary Research</em> 58 (2002): 246–254, doi:<a href="http://dx.doi.org/10.1006/qres.2002.2377" id="x-ddDoi">10.1006/qres.2002.2377</a>. Posted with permission.</p>