Winter Update - Warm Ideas will continue to Dominate Wall Street -- For Now | UPL Message Board Posts

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Msg  7368 of 37926  at  1/3/2007 9:35:46 PM  by


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Re: Winter Update - Warm Ideas will continue to Dominate Wall Street -- For Now

Here's an article about Evelyn Browning Garris' weather punditry.  She even reminds me of her dad (see foto).  I bought a video made by her dad in 1990.  I found it fascinating.

Investment advice is blowing in the wind

Guessing even tomorrow's weather is tricky, but climatologist Evelyn Browning-Garriss's long-term forecasts and their impact on commodities have the ear of farmers, corporations -- and investors

Evelyn Browning-Garriss is a weather whisperer who advises everyone from Texas cattle raisers to vineyards and Canadian banks about what the coming season will bring.

Guessing even tomorrow's weather is tricky, but the New Mexico climatologist's long-term forecasts are right on the money, her clients say.

Take last spring, when just about everyone figured another wild hurricane season would propel oil and natural gas prices to records. They bet on it -- but positions for investors such as Amaranth Advisors LLC went sour after the season turned out to be one of the calmest in a decade.

Not everyone had jumped on the bandwagon. Ms. Browning-Garriss thought volcanic ash from eruptions in Montserrat and Russia would temper the weather. And she said so to clients, the media and in her newsletter.

The Bank of Nova Scotia paid attention.

Its futures trading arm was one of the few to advise clients that energy prices may not blast off last spring and summer. Not everyone listened, but those who did were laughing all the way to the bank.

"I would rank her as being the best that I know of as far as being able to predict long-term weather patterns," said Jeff Kowal, a futures specialist at Scotia Capital Inc.

Ms. Browning-Garriss, author of the Browning Newsletter, was in Toronto this month telling Scotiabank clients how El Nino, volcanic activity and sun spots will influence the weather. Her audience seemed riveted, asking questions about the coming season and how Canada will be affected.

For Scotia Capital, which deals in markets such as natural gas, corn, wheat, soy beans and orange juice, any insights into the weather are useful because of its influence on commodity prices.

Mr. Kowal also likes that Ms. Browning-Garriss isn't backed by any private or public funding.

"It's important to note that she is independent, so she's not being paid by a particular sector or lobby group that has a vested interest," Mr. Kowal said.

Ms. Browning-Garriss, a walking Farmer's Almanac with two decades of experience in the field, grew up hearing weather tales from her father's knee. Famed weather predictor Iben Browning is said to have forecast the timing of the 1989 San Francisco earthquake -- though he falsely predicted a killer earthquake in southeastern Missouri a year later. He died shortly after.

His daughter, now in her fifties, inherited his fascination with the natural world. She readily admits she's not a scientist by training -- her degree is in anthropology and history -- and says most of her focus has been on how weather affects people.

She's far more interested in nature than the politics of climate change, but says that human activity is heating up a planet that's already warming. She looks at natural cycles of the weather, using factors such as solar radiation, ocean currents and volcanic activity to predict patterns in the future.

And she's rather good at it, which is why farmers, power companies and investors go back to her, year after year, for her predictions.

The Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association has had her speak at past conventions and said it plans to keep using her amid a drought and wild fires in the region.

Ms. Browning-Garriss estimates a third of her clients are farmers, ranchers or investors, who want to know how hurricanes, droughts and floods will affect agricultural commodities. About a third are power and utility companies interested in heating and cooling days. The final third are a diverse bunch ranging from sports retailers who want to know about the ski season, to paint shops, insurers, florists and travel agencies.

She tries to keep travel down to four days a month, but she's ventured as far as Fiji and Belize to advise power producers there.

Staying independent is a key, she says. "My father passed down the advice: Don't get on government contracts and have private clients, because with a private client, if you're wrong, they won't hire you again. You get immediate feedback," she says in a phone interview from Sandia Park, N.M., a region hit with snow storms this month.

The climatologist was correct about last year's season, and also predicted wild hurricanes the year before, just before Katrina hit. But such accuracy isn't new. A full decade ago, the Wall Street Journal named her as one of the year's winners because she was one of the few predicting rains in Texas.

As for the coming season? She'd prefer you subscribe to her $225 (U.S.) newsletter to find out. But she does say the warmth in the Atlantic Ocean means it'll be another wild ride. The opposite of last year, in fact.

She also expects more volatility -- and warming -- to come. Droughts will continue to plague California and the southern U.S. states, bringing more wildfires. In the northeast, meantime, heavy rainfall could delay spring planting and prompt farmers to plant soy beans instead of corn. (This call prompted Scotiabank to issue a research note, predicting a rally in corn futures).

In all, "expect a lot of weather records to be broken," she says

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