Tuesday, April 24, 2007

My friend Chris Masse alerts me to {drumroll} global warming contracts!

In Forbes:
UBS Investment Bank said it is launching the world's first global warming index based on weather futures contracts for 15 US cities traded on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.

The contracts compare the average daily temperatures in 15 US cities against a given base, and will eventually be extended to include other major cities around the world.

UBS (nyse: UBS - news - people ) said the index, called the UBS-GWI, will allow investors most affected by the uncertainty of climate change to hedge their exposure to weather and to diversify their portfolios with an alternative asset class.

Here is my comment on Midas Oracle:

15 US Cities!?! I think West Texas Intermediate Crude is a better proxy for global crude prices (WSJ just published an article this week saying it’s not).

Thanks, but no thanks. I find the GISS to be a better proxy than 15 cities in North America. On their website is this brief on their data collection:

The Global Historical Climatology Network (GHCN-Monthly) data base contains historical temperature, precipitation, and pressure data for thousands of land stations worldwide. The period of record varies from station to station, with several thousand extending back to 1950 and several hundred being updated monthly via CLIMAT reports. The data are available without charge through NCDC’s anonymous FTP service.

Both historical and near-real-time GHCN data undergo rigorous quality assurance reviews. These reviews include preprocessing checks on source data, time series checks that identify spurious changes in the mean and variance, spatial comparisons that verify the accuracy of the climatological mean and the seasonal cycle, and neighbor checks that identify outliers from both a serial and a spatial perspective.

GHCN-Monthly is used operationally by NCDC to monitor long-term trends in temperature and precipitation. It has also been employed in several international climate assessments, including the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 4th Assessment Report, the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment, and the “State of the Climate” report published annually by the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society.

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