Furthest Right

Shorting Thermal Energy

No matter what type of energy source a joule of heat on Earth is derived from, it all originated from one source: the Sun. If our sun took a caesura from sending as much energy towards Earth, it would lead to significant consequences. In anticipation of these events, professional investors would make significant changes to their positioning to prepare. This would be triggered by physical evidence that would inform the cognizant to get their houses in order.

So this would imply a three step cascade of events in the event of anything like a renewed Maunder Minimum.

  1. Physical evidence convinces some seriously powerful and seriously smart people. Perhaps NASA has recently seen the “Bat Signal” of an approaching climactic downturn. This comes from an analysis of satellite data from a remote sensing instrument called SABER.

    When solar emissions are “hot”, the Earth’s atmosphere emits NO into space. As solar radiative transfer declines, the NO molecules do not receive the energy to hit escape velocity and remain entrained. More NO flux implies hotter atmosphere, resulting from enhanced radiative transfer. And vice-versa. Right now, the NO flux is in decline and near the lowest level observed or derived in eight decades.

    Mlynczak and his colleagues have created the Thermosphere Climate Index (TCI), which measures how much NO is dumped from the Thermosphere into outer space. During Solar Maximum the TCI number is very high. At times of Solar Minimum, TCI is low. “Right now, (TCI) is very low indeed,” said Mlynczak. “SABER is currently measuring 33 billion Watts of infrared power from NO. That’s ten times smaller than we see during more active phases of the solar cycle.”

  2. People travelling in fairly fast company will plan in advance for anticipated physical consequences of a declining trend in inbound solar thermal energy. The obvious consequence is colder weather. This has both immediate and long term economic impacts. The immediate impact is an intensified demand for energy. Colder temperatures, increase rates of thermodynamic entropy. If you are warm, then the colder stuff around you will suck more energy out of you. Staying warm requires a greater use of energy to avoid getting too cold yourself.
    1. The increased effort to stave off the cold will manifest in two immediate economic trends. Energy costs go up. This leads smarter people to combat in getting their hands on energy producing and energy storage commodities.

      According to Roskill Information Services, “lithium chemical demand from end-use sectors is expected to increase year-on-year to around 280,000 tonnes lithium carbonate equivalent.” These projections have already begun to have a profound impact on the price of lithium in the marketplace. Lithium prices declined from 2018 through the end of 2020, but since December 1, 2020 the price of lithium has soared 71.24% — and could be poised to climb even higher.

      As the precursor commodities needed to produce and store energy go up in price, the end users of energy will pay more for the privilege of not freezing their cans off. We see this with both gasoline contracts (Up 61.48% last 3 months), and Methane Contracts.

    2. On an even more direct and personal level, people have to burn more calories to stay warm as temperatures drop. The body does this by consuming larger volumes of food. This means food becomes more scarce, and thereby more expensive. It’s a good deal right now to control the rice bowl. The challenge, of course, is being able to fertilize these crops. Expect this sort of thing to flow downstream to the grocery store.

So why are people bidding up the prices of commodities that are inversely sensitive to cold weather? Because prior history suggests that reductions in temperature make life harder for people. How miserable? Dark Ages miserable.

In the summer of A.D. 536, a mysterious cloud appeared over the Mediterranean basin. “The sun gave forth its light without brightness,” wrote the Byzantine historian Procopius, “and it seemed exceedingly like the sun in eclipse, for the beams it shed were not clear.” In the wake of the cloud’s appearance, local climate cooled for more than a decade. Crops failed, and there was widespread famine. From 541 to 542, a pandemic known as the Plague of Justinian swept through the Eastern Roman Empire. Scientists had long suspected that the cause of all this misery might be a volcanic eruption, probably from Ilopango in El Salvador, which filled Earth’s atmosphere with ash. But now researchers say there were two eruptions—one in 535 or 536 in the northern hemisphere and another in 539 or 540 in the tropics—that kept temperatures in the north cool until 550.

If Nuclear Winter via volcanic eruption seems a bit like a Black Swan, let’s look at a milder version. Barabara Tuchman described The Calamitous 14th Century in France as partially the fault of an agricultural famine. More modern scientific research marks this famine as the first material impact of The Little Ice Age.

Researchers from the Leibniz Institute for Tropospheric Research (TROPOS) and the Leibniz Institute for the History and Culture of Eastern Europe (GWZO) analyzed the available scientific and historical evidence, to learn more about how the climate was evolving at that time. They revealed in a press release that the extreme cold and heavy rainfall that caused massive crop failures and starvation in central Europe in the 1310s was preceded by a severe drought and accompanying heat wave , which bedeviled the region between the years 1304 and 1307. The time period when both climate event disasters took place is significant. It marks the transition from the relatively high-temperature Medieval Warm Period to the Little Ice Age, when glacial advancement and consistently low temperature readings irrevocably altered the climate of the Northern Hemisphere.

NOAA gives us an example of what you would predict if you had the other side of this hypothetical sunshine trade. Their models project continuous warming and they claim the planet is hotter than it has ever been since daily records were kept. If these proclamations are not extreme enough, then we can peruse the latest pronouncements of the UNIPCC.

The world’s leading climate scientists have warned there is only a dozen years for global warming to be kept to a maximum of 1.5C, beyond which even half a degree will significantly worsen the risks of drought, floods, extreme heat and poverty for hundreds of millions of people. The authors of the landmark report by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released on Monday say urgent and unprecedented changes are needed to reach the target, which they say is affordable and feasible although it lies at the most ambitious end of the Paris agreement pledge to keep temperatures between 1.5C and 2C.

These, however, are the same people predicting that sections of New York City would be under water by 2014. Then there was that Guardian article predicting that snowfalls were a thing of the past. I can only wonder how much insight these pronouncements added to how Texas designed their power grid with respect to potential cold temperatures.

How would a new Maunder Minimum impact a planet with 8 Billion People and a possibly anthropogenic pandemic in progress? Here’s how one person sees it playing out.

If cooling becomes more evident, there will be a rush to restock inventories. China has been a huge buyer of agricultural products. Do their scientists know more than our politicians? Highly likely!…There are about 8 billion people in the world. Imagine how long-term food shortages would affect them? There will be many other shortages of commodities as the world has to adjust to the new reality….Shortages produce much higher prices especially when it comes to essential food. Higher inflation triggers immense changes in the economies and the behavior of people….

Perhaps it’s the increasing likelihood of just this sort of dark winter that is moving several key markets. Smarter investors hoard in front of a highly likely shortage. The people fighting to corner the lithium and agricultural fertilizer markets may well be long certain commodities as a method of going short on solar radiation. It’s not reassuring to see Apple, Google and Tesla all three going short on thermal energy.

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