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A Century of Great Plains Precipitation
Garbrecht, J.D. and Rossel, F.E.  2002.  Decade-scale precipitation increase in Great Plains at end of 20th century.  Journal of Hydrologic Engineering 7: 64-75.

What was done
The authors used state divisional monthly precipitation data from the U.S. National Climatic Data Center to investigate the nature of precipitation throughout the U.S. Great Plains over the 105-year period from January 1895 through December 1999.

What was learned
Regions in the central and southern Great Plains experienced above-average precipitation over the last two decades of the 20th century.  This 20-year span of time was the longest and most intense wet period of the entire 105 years of record, and was primarily the result of a reduction in the number of dry years and an increase in the number of wet years.  What made it even better was the fact that the number of very wet years, in the words of the authors, "did not increase as much and even showed a decrease for many regions."

The northern and northwestern Great Plains also experienced a precipitation increase near the end of the 105-year record; but it was primarily confined to the final decade of the 20th century.  And, again, as the authors report, "fewer dry years over the last 10 years, as opposed to an increase in very wet years, were the leading cause of the observed wet conditions."

What it means
During the period of time described by climate alarmists as having experienced the greatest global warming of the entire past millennium, which according to them is supposed to result in all sorts of devastating droughts and floods, the Great Plains of the United States has experienced the best of both worlds, so to speak.  Overall, conditions have gotten wetter, which means less drought; while the constancy - or even decline - in the number of very wet years tends to mitigate against floods.

What could possibly be better?  Looks like the new Modern Warm Period is going to eventually be classified as another Little Climatic Optimum!

Reviewed 3 April 2002