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Twenty-One-Year Simulation of Chesapeake Bay Water Quality Using the CE-QUAL-ICM Eutrophication Model

Published: October 01, 2013

The CE-QUAL-ICM (Corps of Engineers Integrated Compartment Water Quality Model) eutrophication model was applied in a 21-year simulation of Chesapeake Bay water quality, 1985-2005. The eutrophication
model is part of a larger model package and is forced, in part, by models of atmospheric deposition, watershed flows and loads, and hydrodynamics. Results from the model are compared with observations in multiple formats including time series plots, cumulative distribution plots, and statistical summaries. The model indicates only one long-term trend in computed water quality: light attenuation deteriorates circa 1993 through the end of the simulation. The most significant result is the influence of physical processes, notably stratification and associated effects (e.g., anoxic volume), on computed water quality. Within the application period, physical effects are more important determinants of year-to-year variability in computed water quality than external loads.

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