12 July 2019

Natural Gas price crazies linked to climate trends

Winter climate variability and change contributed to natural gas market volatility

Close association between the noted climate pattern and natural gas supply
Science

This study connected the amplified climate variability to increasingly fluctuating natural gas supply and demand, providing information useful for understanding the role of a changing climate on a crucial economic and energy resource for the United States.

Impact

This project developed projection methods to evaluate the fluctuation in gas supply and demand that is caused by winter climate variability. While current management of natural gas is largely influenced by short-term weather forecasting, the established relationship between climate and natural gas supply and demand could be useful for seasonal prediction and consumer price mitigation during cold winters.

Summary

Due to the widespread use of natural gas for heating in the cold season, cold-snaps and extreme winters result in dramatic spikes in natural gas demand that have a profound impact on the energy market in the United States. The financial strain caused by enhanced demand for heating often manifests in the gas bills for residential and commercial consumers. These cold periods are heavily influenced by the background climate features over North America. Because these features are less transient than weather, their relationship to natural gas provides useful information for longer-term management of natural gas resources. Results also suggest that human-induced climate change could increase the costly fluctuation in natural gas due to enhanced variability in the climate patterns related to extreme cold. This indicates that increased reliance on this fossil fuel could bear a financial burden in the future.

Contact
Simon Wang, Prof.
Utah State University (USU)
Funding
Publications
Stuivenvolt-Allen, J, and S Wang.  2019.  "Data Mining Climate Variability as an Indicator of U.S. Natural Gas."  Frontiers in Big Data 2.  https://doi.org/10.3389/fdata.2019.00020.