How expensive is fertilzer?

The world ban blog looks at fertilizer prices in the post Fertilizer prices ease but affordability and availability issues linger by John Baffes and Wee Chian Koh (1/5/2023).  In Europe

The sharp increase in natural gas prices in Europe has led to widespread production cutbacks in ammonia—an important input for nitrogen fertilizers. As of October 2022, about 70% of European ammonia production capacity had been reduced or shut down.  However, input costs have declined in recent months due to increase imports of liquefied natural for national reserves in Europe as well as expectations of a milder winter. This could allow some shuttered nitrogen fertilizer production facilities in Europe to resume operations.

In China

Supply concerns have been exacerbated by China’s extension of export restrictions on fertilizers until the end of 2022 in order to maintain domestic availability. DAP exports from China, which accounts for 30% of global trade in DAP, fell by nearly 50% (y/y) during the first ten months of 2022. Meanwhile, Chinese urea exports declined by about 60% (y/y) over the same period.

There are four graphs and a link to the Commodity Markets page that has a bunch of data.

How much do your legos cost?

The cost of legos vary around the globe and the article The Countries that Pay the Most and Least for Lego by Jess Peace.

But LEGO also tells a tiny tale about world economics. The price of LEGO differs depending on the country where you shop. In fact, TheToyZone found a 744% difference between the average price of LEGO in the most and least expensive markets.

We researched the prices of eight popular LEGO sets in marketplaces across roughly 200 countries where new LEGO sets are sold and totaled up the average price for each territory. Then we converted our findings to US dollars and ranked the final figures to uncover the countries that pay more for their LEGO.

There are a bunch of graphics like the one copied here and you can zoom in to read all the prices. One has to appreciate the graphics and there is good QL info in the article.

I’m going to officially take a couple of weeks off. I passed 500 post this year and I’ve only missed a few of my biweekly posts. I’ll be back in 2023.

What should we know about oil markets?

The World Bank blog post Oil prices remain volatile amid demand pessimism and constrained supply  by Peter Nagle and Kaltrina Temaj (12/16/2022) is a overview of the oil market. There are seven graphs but one, U.S. strategic reserves, caught my attention and is copied here.

The United States and other OECD countries have released large amounts of oil from their strategic reserves, equal to about 1mb/d since March.  These releases have sharply reduced the level of strategic reserves—for example, the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) is currently at its lowest level since 1984—reducing available buffers in the event of future disruptions to supply. Conversely, the U.S. administration has announced it intends to start to refill the SPR at a price of about $70/bbl, potentially putting a floor under prices.

One other fact of interest:

OPEC+ members agreed to cut their production target by 2 million barrels per day starting in November 2022 and lasting through end-2023.  The actual reduction in production in November was much smaller than that (around 0.5 mb/d), largely because many members were already producing well below their target due to operational issues and capacity constraints. Indeed, even after the reduction in the production target, the group’s actual production was still short by 1.7mb/d. Spare production among the group remains low by historical standards, at around 3.5 mb/d or 3.5 percent of global oil demand.

Ample quantitative information in the article along with rates for calculus. There aren’t links to data but the sources are cited and shouldn’t be too hard to find.

How hot was Nov 2022?

From NOAA’s November 2022 Global Climate Report:

The November 2022 global surface temperature departure was the ninth highest for November in the 143-year record at 0.76°C (1.37°F) above the 20th century average of 12.9°C (55.2°F). Despite ranking among the ten warmest Novembers on record, this November was the coolest November since 2014. November 2022 marked the 46th consecutive November and the 455th consecutive month with temperatures, at least nominally, above the 20th century average.

A few of highlights:

Europe tied 2000 for its third-warmest November on record.

The contiguous U.S. had a November that was 0.7°F cooler than average.

However, New Zealand recorded its warmest November on record according to its state meteorological agency. The warmest three Novembers in New Zealand have all occurred since 2019.

Time series data is available near the top of the page.

 

 

How much natural gas does the industrial sector use?

The eia post Natural gas consumption in the industrial sector has grown slowly in recent years by Mike Kopalek (12/12/2022) provides the graph copied here. What may be more interesting is what all this natural gas is used for. A few highlights:

Natural gas used to produce fertilizer is one of the largest chemical feedstocks.

Methanol (CH3OH), a natural gas-derived substance that’s widely used as a precursor for chemical derivatives, is another one of the largest chemical feedstock uses for natural gas. In recent years, the United States added significant methanol production capacity, particularly in Texas and Louisiana.

Crude oil refineries are an important natural gas consumer as well, accounting for about 14% of all industrial natural gas consumption in 2021.

Read the article for the details. There are links to the data source.

Should you bet on a white Christmas?

The answer to the question depends on where you live, which will dictate the odds of snow on the ground on Dec 25.  If you aren’t sure then take a look at the map on the NOAA’s climate.gov article Interactive map: Are you dreaming of a white Christmas? by Rebecca Lindsey and Susan Osborne (12/6/2022).

The interactive map on the page allows you to zoom in on a dot and get information about the chance of at least an inch of snow on the ground on Dec 25.  Here in Ithaca we have a 51% chance of at least an inch of snow on the ground. The page includes links to other maps and at the bottom there are links to other snow related resources. There is a link to download a spreadsheet of the data which includes the state and location name, along with elevation and the chance of snow. Is there relationship between elevation and snow on Dec 25? This seems like a stats project in the making.

 

 

What are the IPCC sea level projections?

In a follow up to the last post, How much has sea level risen locally? (12/1/2022), we have the IPCC Sea Level Projection Tool. The NOAA sea level trends tool looks at the historic data and adds linear regression lines. The IPCC tool has projections based on the different IPCC scenarios. For example, when you first land on the page you will see blue dots on a map. A dot with a number means there are a cluster of dots nearby so zoom in.  I went to the Miami beach dot. Click on the dot and then click full projections. This will bring you to a page with two interactive maps. The first is a curve of seal level change (relative to the 1995-2014 baseline) projected out to 2150. You can select one of the six IPCC scenarios.

The other graph, seen here, allows you to select an increase in sea level and provides estimates for when that will occur, with the black circle being the median year.  The graph here is the data at which we see about one foot of sea level rise in Miami. In both graphs there is a link to download the data.

A related article from NASA, NASA Study: Rising Sea Level Could Exceed Estimates for U.S. Coasts by Sally Younger (11/15/2022) provides some interesting context such as:

The hazards of rising sea level are amplified by natural variabilities on Earth.

For instance, by the mid-2030s, every U.S. coast will experience more intense high-tide floods due to a wobble in the Moon’s orbit that occurs every 18.6 years. Hamlington said that this lunar cycle, in combination with rising sea level, is projected to worsen the impacts of high-tide flooding during the 2030s and 2040s.

 

How much has sea level risen locally?

If you’d like local trends of sea level rise then check out NOAA’s Sea Level Trends page.

The sea level trends measured by tide gauges that are presented here are local relative sea level (RSL) trends as opposed to the global sea level trend. Tide gauge measurements are made with respect to a local fixed reference on land. RSL is a combination of the sea level rise and the local vertical land motion.

On the landing page you are greeted with a map with colored arrows. The arrows point up for an increase and down for a decrease in sea level locally. The color of the arrow is represents magnitude. Click on an arrow to get details. For instance for Ocean City, MD we learn

The relative sea level trend is 6.05 mm/year with a 95% confidence interval of +/- 0.73 mm/year based on monthly mean sea level data from 1975 to 2021 which is equivalent to a change of 1.98 feet in 100 years.

Note that the 100 year projection assume a linear increase, which may not be the case. The pop up box includes links to four times of graphs. The one presented here is the linear trend graph. Under the graph for average seasonal cycle we learn

The average seasonal cycle of mean sea level, caused by regular fluctuations in coastal temperatures, salinities, winds, atmospheric pressures, and ocean currents, is shown along with each month’s 95% confidence interval.

The graphs include links to the data. Great QL resource and a place to get ample time series data.

How much have food prices increased?

The World Bank Data Blog provides information on food prices in the article Food prices eased but risks remain elevated by John Baffes & Kaltrina Temaj (11/21/2022)

The World Bank’s Food Price Index declined 12% in the third quarter of 2022 (q/q) after reaching an all-time high in April. The index remains almost 20% higher than a year ago.  In domestic currency terms, however, food prices remain elevated due to currency deprecations. Food prices are expected to fall 5% in 2023 before stabilizing in 2024. Despite the expected declines, most food prices will remain high by historical norms. The forecasts are also subjected to numerous risks.

The article has total of 7 graphs, most of them are interactive, and interesting information:

Supply disruptions, increasing production costs, and appreciation of the U.S. dollar have exerted upward pressure on domestic food price inflation in most countries.  Food price inflation in South Asia averaged 20% in the first three quarters of 2022 (y/y); the average for most other regions was 14%. The exception was the East Asia and the Pacific region where food price inflation averaged just 6%, in part due to stable rice prices, a key staple in the region.

There are links to the data but it may take some work to get it. This is a rich QL article. For example, a good assignment is use the graph to verify the percentages in the first quote above.

 

 

How hot was October 2022?

From NOAA’s October 2022 Global Climate Report:

October 2022 was the fourth-warmest October in NOAA’s 143-year record. The October global surface temperature was 1.60°F (0.89°C) above the 20th-century average of 57.1°F (14.0°C). The past seven Octobers were among the ten warmest Octobers on record.

A few highlights:

Europe had its warmest October on record at 2.6°C (4.6°F) above the 1910-2000 average. This surpassed the previous record, set in 2020, by 0.38°C (0.68°F). More than seven countries in Europe recorded their warmest or joint-warmest October on record.

Austria had its warmest October on record. Austria’s national weather service reported that the average temperature was 2.8°C above the 1991-2020 baseline in the lowlands, and 4.0°C warmer in the mountains.

According to MeteoSwiss, Switzerland had its warmest October since the country began its records in 1865, with an average temperature 3.7°C above the 1991-2020 average.

Belgium tied 2001 for its warmest October on record, 3.1°C warmer than the 1991-2020 average, according to Belgium’s Royal Meteorological Institute.

MeteoFrance reported that France had its warmest October since records began in 1945, about 3.5°C above the 1991-2020 normal.

The time series data is available near the top of the page under Additional Resources.