Response time, describing how quickly a disturbed system would reach a new equilibrium, has been helpful to hydrogeologists in characterizing and understanding the hydrogeological systems. This study examined the complex response times associated with lake–groundwater perturbed by climate. Simulated hydraulic heads and lake stage values derived from a 3-D, MODFLOW-based model were used to calculate the response times for a closed, groundwater-fed lake system. Although obviously coupled, the response times of the lake and groundwater systems were different from one another. Typically, the adjustments in hydraulic heads occurred more rapidly than lake stage. Response times for groundwaters close to the lake were controlled by the lake because of the slow transient response in stage. However, the influence of the lake declined toward the basin boundaries. This behavior occurred because critical parameters controlling the response-time behavior of the groundwater system (e.g., recharge rate) differed from those controlling the response-time behavior of the lake (e.g., bed leakance). An improved understanding of lake–groundwater behaviors have the potential to evaluate how lakes function as systems for recording paleoclimates.
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