All posts tagged ENSO

The winners and losers of El Niño

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As 2015 wound to a close, it was assigned to the record books as the world’s warmest year. Of course, global warming is widely considered to be at play, but meteorologists are particularly interested in the strength of this year’s El Niño, which has exacerbated droughts in some areas, increased floods in others, and led to an unusually mild winter in North America and Europe. The effects of this unusually warm winter on the world economy are representative of the diverse financial consequences of El Niño and of climate variability generally, with weather being blamed for increased production costs, reduced revenues, and reduced GDPs. The question for each of these companies is whether they were prepared for El Niño and integrated weather risk management into their development strategies.

Exploring the El Niño phenomenon

El Niño is well known as a cyclical phenomenon that occurs about once or twice per decade that sees the warm waters of the central Pacific expand eastwards towards North and South America. During the summer period, it increases the risk of decreased rainfall in the Eastern Pacific (India, Indonesia and in the northern part of Australia), and conversely, it rains more in the southern United States and on the west coast of South America. In winter, when El Niño peaks, temperatures are abnormally high in North America and Europe, and there is more intense storm activity in the Gulf of Mexico. It is also accompanied by intense rains. El Niño leads to a significant increase in the number, duration and intensity of weather anomalies around the world.

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Does Geographic Diversification Work to Mitigate a Company’s Weather Risk?

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Meteo Protect has released a ground-breaking new study tackling the decades-old presumption that companies operating in different regions mitigate the losses sustained in one region as a result of unfavourable weather in another. Multinationals take note: when it comes to managing weather risks, you may be steering your ships right into the storm.

Weather affects sales volumes and profits of many firms in many sectors. The risk to which firms are exposed is not a matter of regular seasonal fluctuations but rather deviations from the seasonal cycle. For example, when the summer is cooler than normal, a brewer sells less beer, and heating demand is lower if winter is warmer than usual. Overall, it is estimated that 70% of the firms are exposed to weather risk and the financial losses caused by unseasonal weather can be very significant.

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