[FoRK] More on Feedback Loops, the Weather and Energy Markets

Albert S. < albert.scherbinsky at rogers.com > on > Sun Sep 24 08:22:28 PDT 2006

First the disclaimer: None of what I say here is meant
to imply that I know exactly what is actually going to
happen. My whole point is that complex(chaotic)
systems are extremely difficult to predict which makes
me suspicious of anyone who claims to know exactly
what is going to happen.

One of the underlying assumptions in the global
warming case is that the recent trend of increased
global temperature will continue into the future. Here
is another interesting feedback loop that could throw
a wrench into that assumption:

The Atlantic heat conveyor could slow or even shut


One theory suggests that this mechanism may be
responsible for periodic rapid reversals of heating
trends in the past. Those past rapid coolings resulted
in drops of as much as 8 degrees in as little as a few
decades in the northern hemisphere. Such a large drop
in temperature could halt the melting of the northern
ice sheets and even cause them to grow.

In my previous post it was pointed out that increasing
energy prices caused demand destruction and
substitution. What should also be pointed out is that
falling prices causes demand to increase. In the past
few weeks the price of crude oil, as well as gasoline
has fallen more that 20%. During that same time, year
over year U.S. gasoline demand increases has gone from
1.4% to 3.1%. That is, growth in demand has more than
doubled with the fall in prices. That level of demand
growth is unsustainable, since the growth in world
production is only around 2% per year. And that
neglects the fact that car use in China looks be
growing at around 20% per year! So sooner or later,
energy prices may make yet another sharp reversal to
continue their long term trend higher.

In summary, both weather and energy markets are
complex systems, with feedback loops that cause them
to be volatile and highly unpredictable.


--- "Albert S." <albert.scherbinsky at rogers.com> wrote:

> Both the weather and financial markets are complex
> systems. Anyone who tells you they know what is
> going
> to happen in either with complete certainty is
> either
> a politician or a stock broker.
> In both global warming and the markets there are
> feedback loops which act to moderate. I'm not saying
> that these feedback loops will necessarily eliminate
> the possibility of catastrophe. What I am saying is
> that these feedback loops make prediction difficult.
> With global warming for instance it lengthens the
> foilage season for trees, which in turn do the
> photosynthesis thing for a longer period of time
> each
> year, consuming more CO2. That's negative feedback.
> Are the gloomers and doomers taking this into
> account?
> With peak oil, higher oil prices causes demand
> destruction and substitution. That's negative
> feedback. Are the energy traders taking this into
> account? You can bet they are, literally.
> Regards,
> Albert
> --- "Dr. Ernie Prabhakar"
> <drernie at radicalcentrism.org> wrote:
> > Hi Adam,
> > 
> > Perhaps you can help me understand something I've
> > always wondered  
> > about.   If only a few prognosticators are aware
> of
> > the impending  
> > impact of Peak Oil, are they putting all their
> money
> > into Oil  
> > Futures, which will presumably be going through
> the
> > roof when the  
> > Peak hits?
> > 
> > http://www.wtrg.com/daily/crudeoilprice.html
> > 
> > -- Ernie P.
> > 
> > On Sep 1, 2006, at 2:40 PM, Adam L Beberg wrote:
> > 
> > > Peak Oil (+Water+Metals+Food+Population) on the
> > other hand is (are)  
> > > also quite real, many people know about them,
> but
> > it's not in the  
> > > mainstream mind yet. Only room for one thing
> > there, and that's  
> > > climate change. Most people that know about it
> > think we'll just  
> > > tech our way out of the problem so dismiss it.
> The
> > ones who are  
> > > really informed know that civilization is going
> to
> > change  
> > > radically, billions will starve
> > > (SUV fuel for rich > food for poor), and that
> > there is no tech way  
> > > out of the problem soon enough to help more then
> > superficially.
> > 
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> > 

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