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Earth Geophysics & Crude Oil

March 8, 2006

Mild US winter has laid the foundation for a stable crude oil price and sharply reduced natural gas price. On the flip side, weather factors have led to expectation of big price jumps in summer. We have some stark evidence in the last year of global warming, melting polar ice caps (see Greenland and Antarctica), and tropical storms (see Gulf of Mexico hurricanes). My forecast is for big increase in oil price this summer, with more disruption to production. The energy market price seasonality has also been disrupted, now soft in winter from warmth, volatile in summer from storms.

The melt of the both polar ice caps and Greenland has sparked wide publicity. Even Canadian drillers have noted the creep north of frozen lands in autumn and spring shoulder months. They benefit from spring frozen tundras (muskeg) for easy truck traffic. Fantastic photos were grabbed by the jackass, to display the melt of Greenland coastlines from 1992 to 2002, thanks to Arctic Climate Impact Assn. Red zones indicate melted zones, as white indicates dense snow coverage and ice. Global warming has become a serious concern, a clear signal of yet another big hurricane season. It confirms the hurricanes of 2005 and warns of more in 2006. Expect disruption to Gulf of Mexico oil platform production.


Some unusual details are alarming but informative. The earth's largest reservoir of fresh water is located in Antarctica. Researchers at the University of Colorado estimate its ice sheets have shrunk at 36 cubic miles per year, between 2002 and 2005. This amount equals roughly 30 times the water Los Angeles requires annually, or enough to raise ocean water levels by 0.02 inch per year. In total the West Antarctic Ice Sheet contains water capable of raising the ocean sea level by 20 feet. Researchers at the Jet Propulsion Lab report that Greenland glaciers near the Arctic circle are melting twice as fast as five years ago. This amounts to 38 extra cubic miles per year of fresh water to the Atlantic Ocean. Vivid images of the extreme winter hurricanes in the movie "Day After Tomorrow" (very bad title, preferring"Winter Hurricane") are conjured in my mind. At issue in that movie was the phenomenon of changes to salinity (salt level) in the ocean major currents which govern global weather, such as the Gulf Stream off Newfoundland.

We might be smack dab in the middle of a much bigger geophysical problem on a global scale. The global warming is a symptom, one of several. The earth's rotation is undergoing a shift reduction in its wobble (called the "Chandler Wobble") as it spins on its axis. The normal wobble might release energy in a controlled safer manner. The sun is currently emitting a heavier flow of solar wind, waste from its furnace of helium fusion, which might be having an effect on the poles of attraction. Disaster relief organizations are poised for an even more turbulent 2006 hurricane season, tied to both warmer temperatures and destruction to the Amazon Rain Forest. Something significant is going on.

This wobble anomaly is bringing forth extreme phenomena almost everywhere we care to look. For the sake of discussion, consider the earth from its molten core to the last molecules of the upper ionosphere as a single closed system. It is under great stress. Severe disturbances in the earth's interior and crust will naturally trigger increasing levels of stress throughout the natural environment. The stress might easily extend to our human populations. Remarkably, the earth is rotating without its usual wobble of roughly ten meters on its axis. Changes have been noticed in the last few years. See Wobble#1 and Wobble#2 for details on the Chandler Wobble and an attempt to link the correlation of the wobble to geological events.

The International Earth Rotation Service research indicates that the Spin Axis has shifted suddenly by 278 centimeters in the past six years, nearly at 3.5 times the professionally imputed IERS rate. Implications to earth's weather systems are profound. The website run by Michael Mandeville of Earth Monitor makes a conclusion.

More deeply, the greater portion of this net motion apparently occurred within the past few months, not over the course of the previous six years. In any event, we may have livid proof in front of our eyes of Cayce's famous prediction about the shifting of the poles. During the 1930's he predicted, in answering questions about future changes which would impact humanity, that a shifting of the poles, or a new cycle would begin, in the years 2000/2001, eventually to culminate in catastrophic upheavals. We are very close on Cayce's schedule. In fact, this current wobble cycle began in 1999/2000 and is closing or terminating abruptly leaving us hanging in mid-air so to speak, waiting for the outstretched ballerina of the Earth to regain her sense of balance after an ambitious leap… which…. she may be unable to do….

The last major anomaly in the MIN phase of the X WAVE was during 1936, which induced a major phase shift and sharp change in direction of the drift of the pole. Following that anomaly, the frequency of 7.0 plus quakes nearly doubled from some 18 per year to over 30 per year. The year following the anomaly saw many major increases in volcanism. We are likely headed towards a similar 20 year season of increase in tectonic activity, beginning with a major increase in volcanism during 2006-08 and the occurrence of more 7.0 plus quakes, even as many three per month for many years afterwards. This activity, combined with the effects of Global Warming on the creation of Super Storms, are likely to keep the news channels quite busy.

This anomaly will be of significant interest to fans of Edgar Cayce, the famed sleeping prophet. He predicted during the mid 1930's that a new cycle of the shifting of the poles would begin in 2000/2001 and thereafter an increase in the "upheavals" in the Earth. Since this anomaly has appeared in a "cycle" of Chandler's Wobble which began in 2000, just after the completion of the MIN PHASE in 1999, we are now seeing Cayce's prediction fulfilled with remarkable fidelity.

Solar flares emanate from the sun's surface. Due to mass & weight differences, the solar surface contains far more electrons (negatively charged) than the solar core with protons (positively charged). An electron is 1830 times lighter than a proton. Lighter objects tend to sit at the surface, more so than denser objects at the center core. Think about the concept of a centrifuge. The effect from increased solar flare activity might be to overload the earth's north and south pole with charges particles, and lead to an uncertain effect on their ambient temperatures. Experts believe that the Chandler Wobble causes earthquakes, volcanoes, El Nino water temperature changes, and global warming, with eight charts which demonstrate (if not prove) the correlation with empirical evidence. The wobble is evident in a 6.5 year cycle.

Dr. László Körtvélyessy, born in Hungary but lives in Germany, is the world's foremost expert in certain niches within the earth sciences, especially related to the influence of the sun on the earth with respect to electrical factors. His book "The Electric Universe" is a full treatment of the complex inter-relationship between the sun and earth, regarded as being of historical importance. See his website for greater details, about the book, about the subject matter, loaded with spectacular graphics and intriguing diagrams of various phenomena. Even a background amateur can observe sunspots, which are the easily detectible with a filtered telescope.

NASA (North American Space Administration) has also recently discovered solar hurricanes and has documented recent research on the subject. See "What Lies Beneath a Sunspot" and its website for more information of solar wind, solar sound storms, and solar light storms from the earthly perspective. A very small amount from the 0.6 x 10 to the power 60 core electrons are pumped by the temperature difference from the core (left) through the plasma (line) into the infinite space as stellar wind (right). This solar thermo-element delivers a negative direct current of 10 to the power 14 A into space from its negative pole (on the right) over millions of years. This electric wind drags along light matter (hydrogen, 4% helium, protons, alpha particles) and no heavy elements. This is the negatively charged solar wind.

No definitive proof can be offered on linkage. We saw the impact of 27 tropical storms in 2005, 15 of which reached hurricane category and wrecked havoc upon the US Gulf Coast and Central America. Over 3000 people were killed, tens of billion$ in property damage occurred. Moreover, enormous disruption took place to oil & gas production, port facilities, river traffic, warehouses, and more. Energy prices for both crude commodities and refined energy products rose dramatically during the stormy months and their aftermath. This summer might be just as disruptive, maybe worse. Something significant is going on. Believe it or not, Haiti is the most vulnerable to damage and human toll, while Cuba is the best prepared.

An interesting article on the subject can be seen in "The Earthquake Alarm" by the IEEE Spectrum Online. An excerpt pulled is highly illustrative for earthquake prediction.

For decades, researchers have detected strange phenomena in the form of odd radio noise and eerie lights in the sky in the weeks, hours, and days preceding earthquakes. But only recently have experts started systematically monitoring those phenomena and correlating them to earthquakes.

A light or glow in the sky sometimes heralds a big earthquake. On 17 January 1995, for example, there were 23 reported sightings in Kobe, Japan, of a white, blue, or orange light extending some 200 meters in the air and spreading 1 to 8 kilometers across the ground. Hours later a 6.9-magnitude earthquake killed more than 5500 people. Sky watchers and geologists have documented similar lights before earthquakes elsewhere in Japan since the 1960s and in Canada in 1988.

Another sign of an impending quake is a disturbance in the ultra-low frequency (ULF) radio band (1 hertz and below) noticed in the weeks and more dramatically in the hours before an earthquake. Researchers at Stanford University, in California, documented such signals before the 1989 Loma Prieta quake, which devastated the San Francisco Bay Area, demolishing houses, fracturing freeways, and killing 63 people.

How can anyone forget the vivid images, from lost life, desperate actions, and colossal power of the ocean from the Sept 2004 tsunami beginning off the Indonesia, reaching the Indian and Sri Lanka and Thailand coastlines. Lost lives are still not accurately measured but number over one hundred thousand, since so many were swept out to sea. Crushed chests on bodies match crushed lives. The underwater seismic event caused tremendous shifts in the sea depths, resulting in 200-foot (60-meter) waves which moves fully 500 miles at enormous speeds to hit faraway coastlines. Damage occurred far inland. Pakistan withstood an earthquake last October, with tragic loss of life on a grand scale, over 70 thousand lives. The earthly tectonic plates are moving. Something is going on, something big, something on many fronts, something earth shaking and powerful.

Other linkage has been seen from the studies by Indian scientists, in particular S. and A. Mukherjee. See their website which documents some of their work on changes to the earth's magnetic field as early warning signals for seismic activity.

Finally, concern has arisen from meteorological experts that the United States bread basket of prairie states is at risk of becoming a dust bowl once again. See the warning complete with photos on their website. The states expected to be at the most risk are Kansas, Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and north Texas. Couple these concerns with actual drought witnessed from California in the last few years, well documented in the past by Jim Puplava of Financial Sense Online.

Hurricane Center chief forecaster Joe Bastardi from summed up the weather and agricultural threat. "It is not a coincidence that the Dust Bowl years of the 1930s were marked by years of tremendous hurricane activity. For example, the record-shattering 2005 hurricane season was the first to eclipse 1933 in number of tropical cyclones, and that may only have been because we didn't have satellites in the 1930s to identify the major storms that failed to reach the U.S. coast." Hurricanes are generated by warm waters. Warm Atlantic waters played a major role in numerous and powerful storms during 2005. Warm waters are now setting up a possible major drought in the United States.

The threat of prolonged drought could become a reality again. However, it is highly unlikely that the nation will see a return of the dust storms. Farm methods and grain seed strains have improved tremendously. Dale Mohler, expert senior meteorologist, is a forecaster for the agricultural industry. He offered an overall assessment. "The dust storms fed off the over-plowed and over-grazed lands of the Great Plains. The agricultural practices at the time, combined with a long period of drought, caused severe damage to farmland in the region. Eventually the topsoil dried up to the point where it was swept away as great clouds of choking dust that stretched for miles… Today's agricultural practices, such as crop rotation and improved irrigation, as well as drought-resistant hybrid crops, would likely prevent the landscape from being as ruined as it was during the 1930s. For example, Illinois endured a terrible drought in 2005, but the state's corn yield was close to normal. However, a multiyear drought in the Great Plains would still be devastating for the nation."

Anyone who has not recognized vast and profound changes to the human systems is blind, clueless, ignorant, naïve, isolated, or aloof. My long ended marriage treated me to the full moon effect on people who had a history of unstable behavior. The patients treated by my ex-wife were largely unaware of the full moon timing, but their collective behavior and demands on staff were a monthly phenomenon highly predictable. Managers even planned more staff hours in advance. Humans respond to altered pressure on the skull suspended in fluid from lunar influence in much the same way as the earth responds with tides. Humans require their lives to be centered (work, family, spirituality, romance, recreation, hobby, leisure, social) so they really rotate on an axis. Humans feel disturbances, often giving off hot air (anger, frustration). They also experience collisions among themselves (fighting, conflict).

We respond to the seasons, getting down & out during winter, living high & mighty in summer, inspired by the renaissance of springtime, and admiring the beauty of autumn colors. We talk about "blowing our tops" in anger, but also suffer bathroom bouts of other explosions when sick (vomit, diarrhea). Milder storms come in the form of sneezes, hiccups, and coughs. Some people are inactive, and lead sedimentary (sedentary) lives only to accumulate excess weight like any sediment host formation. Others became emaciated from eating disorders (or drug abuse) and wither in the wind. Sadly, we have polarized groups on the political front with liberals aligned against conservatives, and everyone wondering who and what the floating neocons are really. As for warming of our continental societies, yes for sure. Extremes of global human warming are evident in war from overheating. The beneficial warming of relations would be welcome among the community of nations.

The maximum production of crude oil and natural gas requires that conditions remain optimal in productions zones and regions. Few people realize that the United States endures the harshest and most violent weather on earth. My guess when asked years ago was that Bangladesh or India or Indonesia saw the worst weather, from cyclones and floods. No way! The United States has the Atlantic Ocean, the Pacific Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico, proximity to the equatorial heat and control mechanisms, exposed coastlines (Gulf Coast), and large peninsulas (Florida), with northern jetstreams. The Gulf of Mexico lies in the direct path of hurricanes.

As a little boy, my first frightened memories were linked to Oxford Mississippi (ages 4, 5, 6) which was close enough to the Gulf Coast. A certain area in the state was called "Hurricane Alley" which made the little kid shiver. "Do people blow away, Daddy? Where do they go? If the roofs on their homes blow off, where do they go? Can big trees really break in half? What happens to horsies and cows? When hurricanes come, do they fly?" Finally with deep fatigue, my father admitted that in a sense, yes, cows would fly if a big storm came, which shut me up. He heard from me about how the Mobil Oil logo had a flying horse. If you think my writing is confrontational and interminably curious, pity my mother and father for dealing with me as a young inquisitive kid, even now as a feisty adult. As they say down south, Mzippi summers are brutally hot, which is the engine for hurricanes in the nearby Gulf. We moved north to Pennsylvania at my age 7, relieved to find moderate weather and my first frolic with snow.

Last year, the world was exposed to Gulf Coast hurricanes, three of them. Gulf oil & gas platforms, connecting port facilities, shipping ports, river passageways, and gasoline refineries were knocked out and damaged. Crude oil rose in price and has stayed high, as the natural gas price spiked then relaxed. Only 75% of Gulf of Mexico energy production platforms for oil & natgas have returned to operations. Higher insurance premiums after two consecutive damaging summers has led to decisions to locate equipment elsewhere, like in the Caribbean and off the South American coastline. If weather throws another sequence of hurricanes at the US again in 2006, expect more bull market opportunities to capitalize upon. Some are guessing. My preference is to use science. The above should convince you that something devastating might be with us for a few more years. Links have been included for your benefit, to research further or to enjoy the spectacular wonders of natural science.

The seasonality of energy price variation has been altered. Look for screaming energy prices again this summer, against a possible backdrop of a slower global economy though. If disasters strike again, which is indicated with high likelihood, expect also for federal disaster relief to be doled out. The consequent rise in federal expenditures should be a continuing theme in this new year. Of course such are off-budget items and not counted toward the deficit. We would not want to see anything increase that precious deficit, whether human war or natural warfare.


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Jim Willie CB is a statistical analyst in marketing research and retail forecasting. He holds a PhD in Statistics. His career has stretched over 24 years. He aspires to thrive in the financial editor world, unencumbered by the limitations of economic credentials. Visit his free website to find articles from topflight authors at For personal questions about subscriptions, contact him at [email protected]

Jim Willie

Jim Willie

Jim Willie CB, also known as the “Golden Jackass”, is an insightful and forward-thinking writer and analyst of today's events, the economy and markets. In 2004 he launched the popular website that offers his articles of original “out of the box” thinking as well as content from top analysts and authors. He also has a popular and affordable subscription-based newsletter service, The Hat Trick Letter, which you can learn more about here.  

Jim Willie Background

Jim Willie has experience in three fields of statistical practice during 23 industry years after earning a Statistics PhD at Carnegie Mellon University. The career began at Digital Equipment Corp in Metro Boston, where two positions involved quality control procedures used worldwide and marketing research for the computer industry. An engineering spec was authored, and my group worked through a transition with UNIX. The next post was at Staples HQ in Metro Boston, where work focused on forecasting and sales analysis for their retail business amidst tremendous growth.

Jim's career continues to make waves in the financial editorial world, free from the limitations of economic credentials.

Jim is gifted with an extremely oversized brain as is evidenced by his bio picture. The output of that brain can be found in his articles below, and on the Silver-Phoenix500 website, on his own website, and other well-known financial websites worldwide.

For personal questions about subscriptions, contact Jim Willie at [email protected]


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