Richard Seager says the 100th meridian, which runs through the middle of Nebraska, has shifted about 100 miles east. Seager says the change will have profound effects on agriculture.
“The date that we began using the high-quality data was in 1979, so that’s over the last almost-four decades now,” Seager says. “That change will progress out into the future, so you’re talking about another one-to-two-degree longitude shift over the next two or three decades.”
Seager says the changes have taken place over just four decades and says he expects them to continue shifting.
“The areas where corn is being grown would be restricted eastward and you’d have an expansion eastward of where wheat is and also perhaps rangeland,” Seager says. “Agricultural producers make their calculations based on a lot of things and there are potential adjustments that can be made in terms of irrigation or changing strains of crops and so on.”
Seager spent about two-and-a-half years analyzing weather statistics dating back to the late 1970s. The study was funded by the National Science Foundation.
By Jerry Oster, WNAX, Yankton