It is cold. In fact, this freezing weather has hit unprecedented levels throughout the U.S. that haven’t been seen since the infamous winter of 1993, when it snowed for 3 days straight, dropping 4 feet of snow on the ground. This freezing weather and associated snow isn’t only aesthetically disgruntling, but also impacts the economy in many ways. It is useful to view the economy as a large network (well duh, that’s what it is) to gain a better picture. In theory, when a freeze event happens, the temperature drop is associated with increased protection to agriculture such as citrus fruits and other industrial and commercial pursuits. The freeze causes bottleneck in the system, because some nodes in the system become inoperable. The risks are obvious in a direct way, but a network approach gives us clearer perspective of systemic issues caused by the freeze.
In 1993 when the record snowfall hit four feet, economic losses hit 5 billion USD and about 310 lives were lost. Pivotal nodes who otherwise could care for elderly, sick, and homebound individuals suddenly lost the possibility of physical connection. The severance of this edge also effected the supply chain/distribution systems, for if there was a main supply depot for imports/exports being the gatekeeper to shipments frozen or snowed under, many economic functions would have to cease.
With this prolonged freeze, it is also important to consider the widespread impact of agriculture. As of January 17th, reports were noted to say that citrus production will reduce by atleast 30% following this frigid temperature. The destruction caused by the extreme cold, especially in the usually warm southern states, will eliminate some nodes (in this case fields of oranges and other tropical climate fruit) and weaken the network.
Situations like these, when we find a continued onslaught of cold weather coupled by severe storms and icy conditions, there must be found redundancies and alternate paths that nodes take to reach the end user. From the example of the 1993 storm, it becomes clear the economic and life impact this weather can have. Resilient nodes with strong edges and alternate paths can help an economy stay afloat during weather like we are currently witnessing.
Last but not least, stay warm everyone! Any stock up on food before tomorrow night!
http://cambridgeriskframework.com/page/20 —Download free ‘Freeze’ Macro-Catastrophe Threat Type