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A Drought History of Northern California and Nevada, USA
Benson, L., Kashgarian, M., Rye, R., Lund, S., Paillet, F., Smoot, J., Kester, C., Mensing, S., Meko, D. and Lindstrom, S. 2002. Holocene multidecadal and multicentennial droughts affecting Northern California and Nevada. Quaternary Science Reviews 21: 659-682.

What was done
The authors developed continuous high-resolution 18O records from cored sediments of Pyramid Lake, Nevada, USA, which they used to help construct a 7600-year history of droughts throughout the surrounding region.

What was learned
Oscillations in the hydrologic balance occurred, on average, about every 150 years, but with significant variability. Over the most recent 2740 years, for example, intervals between droughts ranged from 80 to 230 years; while drought durations ranged from 20 to 100 years, with some of the larger ones forcing mass migrations of indigenous peoples from lands that could no longer support them. In contrast, historical droughts have lasted less than a decade.

What it means
Climate alarmists continually warn of devastating droughts they say will accompany global warming. And why not? Drought is a recurring climatic characteristic of much of the western United States - as well as many other parts of the country and world - and is sure to occur again and again. Indeed, there is no reason not to believe that a huge mega-drought, such as those of prior millennia, could occur again ... and at any time. If such were to happen in the near future, the climate alarmists would appear to be vindicated. In fact, just a regular garden-variety drought would do wonders for their cause. However, as the results of this study clearly demonstrate, droughts of all types are a normal part of the climatic history of the western United States, as they surely are of many other places too; and the occurrence of even a very protracted drought would not imply anything about any purported man-climate linkage.

Reviewed 24 April 2002