Broker Check

Farmer’s Almanac September ‘23

September 01, 2023

                  A little stir among the clouds before they rend asunder

A little rocking of the trees and then comes the thunder

                                                      Oliver Wendall Holmes


         Some creatures don’t have the luxury of waiting until fall to migrate. Broad-wing hawks spiral up in kettles of a hundred or more and then glide for miles. Nighthawks, flying insect eaters related to whippoorwills, may depart before the end of August. Monarch butterflies , stately fliers that conserve energy with strong wingbeats and long glides, are on their way to Mexico from California. With the first hard rains, brook trout, belonging to the salmon family, move upstream to spawn, hurtling over waterfalls and swimming through pools shaded by jewelweed.

         Over summer fields across North America, green darners mass for migration. Like all dragonflies, they have four independently powered wings that enable them to hover, fly backwards and attain speeds of more than 30 mph. the first two generations migrate then die. The third doesn’t migrate but winters in Florida and the Caribbean. The green darner has a wingspan of 3 – 4.5 inches, but a few dragonflies have a wingspan of nearly 2.5 feet! It is engraved in a 280 million year old fossil.


         As for the annual weather prediction from this august source of homespun knowledge, cold and wet winter lies ahead for North America.

As with any information source, trust but verify. Still, the FA has a record of consistency that is unrivaled. Since 1792 they have been offering their own weather forecasting based upon their extensive records, the interplay between the earth, moon and sun and just plain good guesswork. Often

Good guesswork is also known as probability statistics. These support long run analyses. The longer the data run, the more effective the prediction pattern. (My profession assumes similar probabilities: over the long run you may make more money by taking risk than by avoiding it.) Veracity is immaterial - these are probability statements. The FA claims 80% accuracy over their two centuries of predictions. CA will be wet and cool again this winter. The East Coast will be wet and snowy. The Midwest will disappear under a white blanket.


Irregular events also play a role in prediction. These go by different names: exogenous; new normal; chaos; black tail or black swan. They are an aspect of Chaos Theory, which describes fractals, the flight of birds and the pathways of bees.


As an example, a little known but truly massive volcanic eruption late last year off the island of Tonga in the South Pacific is having a significant effect upon global weather patterns and current climate conditions (Weather is local, climate is global).  


Despite lying 500 feet below the surface of the ocean, it spewed enough vaporized water into the stratosphere (>20 miles high) to increase the amount of H2O therein by more than 10%. The NASA video is mazing as you watch the plume of water rising from the seething caldron of burning water. As a result, much of the planet has increased rainfall and winds (wind is another word for pressure differentials between air masses).


Illustrating once again our human hubris in assuming we have much effect upon such a massive and complexly chaotic system as Planet Earth. What effect we do have is dwarfed by volcanoes, earthquakes, tectonic plates, oceanic currents and global wind patterns. And El Sol.


Said industry – alternative energy – is having a slow go lately. $30B in new construction has been stalled in the US for lack of funding, despite the hundreds of billions in new capital from DC and many states. Every wind turbine manufacturer outside of China has declared massive losses for the previous year from excess insurance claims, poor construction and planning, parts failures, cost overruns and legal restraints imposed by hundreds of local communities questioning why.


Scotland and Germany have reported enormous, purposeful forest destruction (>16M trees in Scotland, >9M in the GDR) to make way for turbine ‘farms’. Builders are either walking away from projects by paying huge termination penalties or demanding higher support from governments. Ford’s EV losses for the year have nearly quadrupled. China can’t build coal-fired power plants fast enough.


Now Oliver Stone has come out with a new film in support of nuclear power. Do we have a pandemic of sanity infecting Homo sapiens? We need to track the infection rate seeking probabilities…! We may survive after all!


Eat wisely

Sleep well

Love with Abandon!


John Graves, AIF, CLU, ChFC                        

Registered Principal
The Renaissance Group, LLC