US Long-Term Ecological Research Network
Estimating groundwater exchange with lakes: 2. Calibration of a three dimensional, solute transport model to a stable isotope plume
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A three-dimensional groundwater flow and solute transport model was calibrated to a plume of water described by measurements of δ18O and used to calculate groundwater inflow and outflow rates at a lake in northern Wisconsin. The flow model was calibrated to observed hydraulic gradients and estimated recharge rates. Calibration of the solute transport submodel to the configuration of a stable isotope (18O) plume in the contiguous aquifer on the downgradient side of the lake provides additional data to constrain the model. A good match between observed and simulated temporal variations in plume configuration indicates that the model closely simulated the dynamics of the real system. The model provides information on natural variations of rates of groundwater inflow, lake water outflow, and recharge to the water table. Inflow and outflow estimates compare favorably with estimates derived by the isotope mass balance method (Krabbenhoft et al., this issue). Model simulations agree with field observations that show groundwater inflow rates are more sensitive to seasonal variations in recharge than outflow.