The Lake Michigan model, MICH1, was developed more than 30 years ago. This framework was evaluated using field data collected in 1976 and was later applied to predict total phosphorus and phytoplankton concentrations in Lake Michigan during the 1980s and early 1990s. With a renewed interest in the interaction of phytoplankton with toxics and the applicability to Total Maximum Daily Load studies, several new models have been developed and older models have been revived. As part of our interest in plankton dynamics in Lake Michigan, the MICH1 model was resurrected. The model was evaluated over the 1976–1995 period, with a surprisingly good model fit to lake-wide average total phosphorus (TP) field data. However, the model was less successful in mimicking the chlorophyll-a measurements, especially in the hypolimnion. Given the results, the model was applied to perform a few long-term TP model simulations. Using the model with average 1994–95 phosphorus loadings, a steady state was reached within approximately 20 years, and the lakewide phosphorus concentration was below the International Joint Commission water quality guideline of 7 μg/L. This exercise demonstrated that a relatively simple, four-segment model was able to mimic the TP lake-wide data well. However, this model was less suitable to predict future chlorophyll-a concentrations due to the limitation in the representation of the foodchain and the difficulty of the coarse segmentation of the model to capture the deep chlorophyll-a layer. Strengths and limitations of this model can guide future development of eutrophication models for Lake Michigan and the other Great Lakes.
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