This shows how far the “100th Meridian” has shifted since 1980


YaleE360/Katie Peek

Climate change works in mysterious ways; it isn’t limited to wildfires and melting ice. Today’s climate exhibit: The 100th Meridian — the famous dividing line that separates America’s wet East from the dry West — has migrated 140 miles east since 1980…

❝ The shift is the result of rising temperatures drying out parts of the northern plains and less rain falling further south, YaleEnvironment360 reports. This could be due to natural variability — changes caused by nonhuman forces — but the migration aligns with what researchers tell us to expect from global warming.

Ayup…

Central America turning to volcanoes for electricity


Berlin geothermal field, El Salvador, producing 104 MW

Dotted with active volcanoes, Central America is seeking to tap its unique geography to produce green energy and cut dependence on oil imports as demand for electricity outstrips supply. Sitting above shifting tectonic plates in the Pacific basin known to cause earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, the region has huge potential for geothermal power generated by heat stored deep in the earth.

Geothermal power plants, while expensive to build, can provide a long-term, reliable source of electricity and are considered more environmentally friendly than large hydroelectric dams that can alter a country’s topography…

Guatemala, Central America’s biggest country, aims to produces 60 percent of its energy from geothermal and hydroelectric power by 2022.

The government is offering tax breaks on equipment to set up geothermal plants and electricity regulators are requiring distributors buy greater proportions of clean energy.

Some 1,640 feet below the summit of Guatemala’s active Pacaya volcano, which exploded in May, pipes carrying steam and water at 347 degrees Fahrenheit snake across the mountainside to one of two geothermal plants currently operating in the country.

Run by Israeli-owned Ormat Technologies Inc, the plant harnesses energy from water heated by chambers filled with molten rock deep beneath the ground. The company has been operating two plants in Guatemala for three years and wants to expand but is weighing the risks of drilling more costly exploratory wells…

More than a fifth of El Salvador’s energy needs come from two geothermal plants with installed capacity of 160 MW and investigations are being carried out to build a third.

Costa Rica, which has 152 megawatts of capacity in four geothermal plants, is due to bring a fifth plant online in January 2011 and is looking into building two more.

Nicaragua generates 66 MW from geothermal energy and in the next five years plans an increase to 166 MW.

Bravo!

The coneheads up at Los Alamos have participated in geothermal experiments, off and on, over the years. But, generally, the powers-that-be would rather keep the focus on death and destruction. Which is too bad. There’s enough intellectual horsepower there to lead to breakthroughs – no doubt.