On Possible Influence of Space Weather on Agricultural Markets: Necessary Conditions and Probable Scenarios
We present the results of study of a possible relationship between the space weather and terrestrial markets of agricultural products. It is shown that to implement the possible effect of space weather on the terrestrial harvests and prices, a simultaneous fulfillment of three conditions is required: 1) sensitivity of local weather (cloud cover, atmospheric circulation) to the state of space weather; 2) sensitivity of the area of specific agricultural crops to the weather anomalies (belonging to the area of risk farming); 3) relative isolation of the market, making it difficult to damp the price hikes by the external food supplies. Four possible scenarios of the market response to the modulations of local terrestrial weather via the solar activity are described. The data sources and analysis methods applied to detect this relationship are characterized. We describe the behavior of 22 European markets during the medieval period, in particular, during the Maunder minimum (1650-1715). We demonstrate a reliable manifestation of the influence of space weather on prices, discovered in the statistics of intervals between the price hikes and phase price asymmetry. We show that the effects of phase price asymmetry persist even during the early modern period in the U.S. in the production of the durum wheat. Within the proposed approach, we analyze the statistics of depopulation in the eighteenth and nineteenth century Iceland, induced by the famine due to a sharp livestock reduction owing to, in its turn, the lack of foodstuff due to the local weather anomalies. A high statistical significance of temporal matching of these events with the periods of extreme solar activity is demonstrated. We discuss the possible consequences of the observed global climate change in the formation of new areas of risk farming, sensitive to space weather.
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