Prospects for Using Improved Climate Information to Better Manage Energy Systems
Given the rising costs of energy and the tight supply of key fuels, climate variations can have a major impact on society by affecting energy production and demand. The winter of 1976–77 brought continued drought to the western United States and cold weather to the eastern United States. This lifted U. S. energy demand for fossil fuels by the equivalent of 200 million barrels of oil. The weather pattern for that winter was an extreme version of a common pattern that is associated with colder than normal temperatures for most of the heavily populated north temperate zone. If such an extreme climate event had occurred during the winter of 1979–80, it would have increased the world oil shortfall by several percent making a bad situation worse. An international effort would be needed to determine the frequency and nature of such extreme climate variations, and to discover if these events are predictable. Monitoring of global temperature and precipitation data could provide early warning that world-wide energy consumption is unusually high. Use of such information could help ameliorate the impact of an extreme climate event on the global economy.
KeywordsCold Weather Climate Information Extreme Climate Event Heating Season Manage Energy System
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