Thursday, December 08, 2011

How Air Pollution Has Cut PC Production

Here's another effect of an extreme weather event: The world will be short about 3.8 million hard-disk drives next quarter, because of flooding in Thailand (where many of the components are made).

That many are expected to be missing from an earlier forecast of 88 M. Another way to put it is that while the usual 4Q to 1Q end-of-year decline in such drives is 6%, this time it will be 11.5%.

And so growth in 2012 will only be an estimated 6.8% higher than 2011, instead of 9.5%.

2012 PC shipments will be down by 23 million units. (399 M were expected to be shipped.)

This may impact companies like Intel (and you if your 401K is invested there) which will affect Oregon. (Intel employs 15,000 in the state.)

The situation won't return to normal until the end of 3Q12. The World Bank has estimated the cost of the flooding in Thailand at $45 B, the 4th costliest disaster of all time. Rainfall in northern Thailand was 344% above average.

Scientists recently "linked the increase in the intensity of tropical cyclones over the Arabian Sea between 1979 and 2010 with a rise in soot and aerosol emissions over the Indian subcontinent."

I trust you can connect the dots here. But (apparently) until some super-duper fancy-schmancy climate model can predict the decline in hard-disk drives to the nearest 0.001 percent from hourly worldwide aerosol emissions, and a coupled economic model can forecast the impact on the price of butter in U.S. supermarkets to the nearest nanodime, there's just nothing we can do about it.

There's always the abacus to fall back on.

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