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The Jefferson Project is a collaboration between the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, IBM, and the FUND for Lake George aimed at understanding and managing complex factors (road salt, storm water runoff, invasive species) threatening Lake George, New York.

Lake George is located about 80 km north of Albany in upstate New York and is known internationally for its water clarity. Understanding the hydrodynamics of the lake is fundamental for creation and maintenance of a research and monitoring program for the early detection of and response to adverse environmental and biological change. In this work a 3D circulation model of the lake is developed to better understand the hydro-environmental conditions of the lake; forcing is by a combination of local public survey data for the water budget and atmospheric data from the NWS (NOAA National Weather Service). The model is validated by a combination of water chemistry data collected by Darrin Fresh Water Institute (DFWI) over the last three decades, and known empirical relationships of the lake's structural profile. Numerical simulations run over several years to capture the seasonal progression of thermocline depth throughout the lake, the south to north salt and surface thermal gradients and the timing of the spring and fall overturn events. Validation is by comparison with physical and chemical measurements collected over the last three decades. The study presents a novel combination of observational data, numerical modelling and empirical relationships to better understand and predict the lake circulation, and consequently the natural ecosystem.


Session R28, Eco-Hydraulic Modeling: Lake Processes



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