The price of rice in China and the rain in California

Ok, weird title.

I was just looking over the weather patterns in the western U.S. The recent rains in California are unprecedented. Not merely because of volume, but because the conditions that brought then should not have existed with the state of the Pacific ocean.

Currently, the Pacific ocean is in a La Niña pattern. This is consistent with drought in the west. Typically the atmospheric rivers that brought the rain to California happen after the ENSO switches from La Niña to EL Niño. While the current state is shifting and there is a possibility of El Niño it has not happened yet. So, the rain that happened this year would normally be expected next year. This means that normal climatology may not apply.

With that disclaimer, I will plunge into a scenario based on the climatology that may not apply. As such this is not a prediction so much a possible scenario.

It is likely, very likely, that La Niña will end this spring. It is likely, not as likely, but maybe a tiny bit better than 50/50 that El Niño will return this summer. Typically, the weather patterns respond the El Niño by lagging by 12 months. So IF El Niño returned this summer, we could expect record heat in 2024, and we could expect an El Niño driven wet winter in the west in the winter of 2024/2025.

So, what has this got to do with the price of rice in China? Mauldin’s latest letter points out that China is likely to recover from Covid this year. The economy there will recover will start consuming mass amounts of raw goods driving production of raw goods from countries throughout the world that supply raw goods to China.

In another article, it was pointed out that the pollution over China contributes a lot to atmospheric warming. This warming from a cranked up economy in China and its raw goods suppliers, will stack on top of the warming from El Niño. So, even a mild El Niño may have an extraordinary impact on the climate.

Please note, economics and climate are complex systems that present all forecasters with a three body problem. When you mix the systems the best one can hope for is to have a pattern to look for signs that might or might not prove out a scenario.



Actually, The Great Flood of 1862 was the largest flood in the recorded history of Oregon, Nevada, and California.

Although scientists are still studying the size and severity of storms that killed 19 people and caused up to $1 billion in damage, initial assessments suggest the destruction had more to do with California’s historic drought-to-deluge cycles, mountainous topography and aging flood infrastructure than it did with climate-altering greenhouse gasses.

Although the media and some officials were quick to link a series of powerful storms to climate change, researchers interviewed by The Times said they had yet to see evidence of that connection.



I really wasn’t saying it was unprecedented due to climate change. It might have been, rather the floods and rains are not normally expected during a La Niña. The floods would be expected in a El Niño.

A quick look at the linked article shows the big storms are associated with the El Niño. However, the association is loose enough that the historical storms may have happened at the end of the La Niña rather than after the start of the El Niño so my observation may just be my lack of study. I would need to delve deeper into the patterns of storms in relation to the ENSO patterns to defend my scenario.


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Yes. My point is that it wasn’t unprecedented.


The Chinese economy will to a degree get back on track but international manufacturers have been exiting. The Chinese simply do not have the water to expand their economy. Any further expansions of their GDP have to be based on reshuffling of their limited resources. Meaning trying to go high tech including EV to be efficient with existing resources.

The punishing 6% annual GDP growth for more than a decade is well over with in China.

I am not sure how polluting China will be. Meaning China is moving to clean up her act. The high growth days were the wild west where things were allowed to gain that growth.

Note central planning will leave massive holes in what the Chinese can accomplish.

California food stuffs will see a reduction in price in all likelihood.

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