Blame it on the Weather

Blame it on the weather.

A new study from the National Center for Atmospheric Research [NCAR] done in conjunction with the University of Colorado at Boulder, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Stratus Consulting says that "routine weather events such as rain and cooler-than-average days can add up to an annual economic impact of as much as $485 billion."

And that's not even counting floods, hurricanes, and earthquakes. Or climate change.

The study "found that finance, manufacturing, agriculture and every other sector of the economy is sensitive to changes in the weather," and that "the impacts can be felt in every state," the co-authors said in a statement.

This is the first study to apply quantitative economic analysis to estimate the weather sensitivity of the entire U.S. economy, the authors said in the statement.

"It's clear that our economy isn't weatherproof," said NCAR scientist Jeff Lazo, the paper's lead author. "Even routine changes in the weather can add up to substantial impacts on the U.S. economy."

Whether this is a bid for more tax money for research is an open question. The authors contend that the study "could help policymakers determine whether it is worthwhile to invest in enhanced forecasts and other strategies that could better protect economic activity from weather impacts."

And they warn that "the study should be viewed as an initial estimate, which they plan to refine in subsequent research." Meaning, cost estimates could go up.

The study adds "that the influence of routine weather variations on the economy is as much as 3.4 percent of U.S. gross domestic product."

No surprise, mining and agriculture sectors are "particularly sensitive" to weather.

Other "sensitive sectors include manufacturing, finance, insurance and retail."