Water Center


Document Type


Date of this Version

November 2006


From NU Water-Related Research in Brief: Information for Nebraska's Water Resources Decision-Makers, online at http://watercenter.unl.edu/WRRI/WRRIWaterResearchPapers.asp


Management of water resources requires an understanding of the full range of natural variability and its consequences. The weather record, which spans the last 100 years or so, provides a snapshot of the contemporary history of drought and its impacts, but this record is relatively short and is inadequate for understanding long-term trends or for evaluating the magnitude of human impacts. A variety of so-called paleoclimatic records - such as tree rings, lake sediments, and sand dunes - record the history of the environment and can be used to extend the record of climatic variation to older intervals of time. These historical archives can provide a perspective on whether or not the patterns of the 20th century are representative of long-term conditions and can be used to enhance management decisions that require long-range estimates of water availability