Geophysics seems to be an important component to the answer for most of the energy problems of the world. This has been a very busy winter, spring and summer for me with four weeks of continuous travel just ending. Two of these weeks included activities in and around Yellowstone National Park and the remainder in California. In Yellowstone the snow pack and water conditions are favorable, it reminded me of the 1970′s with high rivers and a gradual melt of snow that would continue through July.
While in California I took an in-depth tour of this fascinating facility–The Geysers in northern California.
Calpine runs the facility; the tour was really excellent. Here is their corporate web site.
During the tour is was clear that the resource had been impacted by management decisions in the 1980′s (to rapidly increase production without managing formation pressures and conditions carefully). This was one of the most interesting parts of the tour for me personally. Through innovative use of grey-water some production was restored, while some permanently lost.
Geothermal technologies and resources are well described by this DOE link.
It was clear that the state of California is in desperate straits regarding drought conditions present throughout the entire state. The closed record policy of California, with respect to water wells, is rather unique and causing some issues. The Sacramento Bee article can be accessed here. Emergency regulations were passed on July 2 and are described here. It was surprisingly to see reservoirs so low that grass was growing in the bottom of these resources. The Huff-post has an entire web portal for the California Drought that can be accessed at this link. The USGS also has an excellent summary of resources related to the California Drought, including Webcams. These data and resources can be accessed at this link.
As noted in an earlier blog the earth system has exceeded 400 ppm CO2 (just now we are at 401 ppm; but check the link to see what the atmospheric concentration is when you read this). This CO2 level is simply terrible news. A variety of feed-back mechanisms in the Gaia system are engaging. Stay tuned for updates! Enjoy the summer. Stay safe.