Mid-Holocene hydrologic model of the Shingobee watershed, Minnesota

Sheryl K. Filby, Sharon M. Locke, Mark A. Person, Thomas C. Winter, Donald O. Rosenberry, John L. Nieber, William J. Gutowski, Emi Ito

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


A hydrologifc 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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)246-254
Number of pages9
JournalQuaternary Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Nov 2002


  • Climate change
  • Groundwater water
  • Paleohydrology
  • Paleolimnology
  • Pollen transfer functions


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