An extensive suite of isotopic and geochemical tracers in groundwater has been used to provide hydrologic assessments of the hierarchy of flow systems in aquifers underlying the central Great Plains (southeastern Colorado and western Kansas) of the United States and to determine the late Pleistocene and Holocene paleotemperature and paleorecharge record. Hydrogeologic and geochemical tracer data permit classification of the samples into late Holocene, late Pleistocene-early Holocene, and much older Pleistocene groups. Paleorecharge rates calculated from the Cl concentration in the samples show that recharge rates were at least twice the late Holocene rate during late Pleistocene-early Holocene time, which is consistent with their relative depletion in 16O and D. Noble gas (Ne, Ar, Kr, Xe) temperature calculations confirm that these older samples represent a recharge environment approximately 5??C cooler than late Holocene values. These results are consistent with the global climate models that show a trend toward a warmer, more arid climate during the Holocene. (C) 2000 University of Washington.