Stationarity is dead: Whither water management?
Milly, P.C.D., J. Betancourt, M. Falkenmark, R.M. Hirsch, Z.W. Kundzewicz, D.P. Lettenmaier, and R.J. Stouffer. 2008. Stationarity is dead: Whither water management?. Science 319 (5863): 573-574, DOI: 10.1126/science.1151915.
(Adapted from the article text)
Systems for management of water throughout the developed world have been designed and operated under the assumption of stationarity. Stationarity--the idea that natural systems fluctuate within an unchanging envelope of variability--is a foundational concept that permeates training and practice in water-resource engineering. It implies that any variable (e.g., annual stream-flow or annual flood peak) has a time-invariant (or 1-year-periodic) probability density function (pdf), whose properties can be estimated from the instrument record.
UW Climate Impacts Group