Weather predicting and weather conditions play a significant role in the world of business. Weather affects 20 percent of the $9 trillion U.S. economy. A commodities trading firm may contract with a weather forecasting service to predict future weather conditions in certain growing regions for the potential harvest of wheat, corn, soybean, coffee, and other agricultural commodities. Based on the predicted supply figures, the company's brokers can advise their clients to buy or sell their animal and grain futures. Frost damage to crops and fruits can send prices tumbling, and a fine growing season of ideal weather can yield an oversupply of farm products, thus lowering prices as well. Rapid weather changes can affect prices of key crops worldwide. In Australia wheat prices dropped 8 percent in one month during 1997 after a heavy rainfall erased the threat of a predicted drought.
An unanticipated winter heat wave can cause a sudden upsurge in tourism, send golfers to driving ranges, customers to ice cream stores, and increase sales by food vendors on city streets. Conversely, ski shops, heating-oil companies, and shops specializing in outerwear, sweaters, boots, gloves, and scarves find business to be slow. Theaters and restaurants see a rise in patrons willing to leave their homes when the weather is less inclement. People get out more to shop in department stores. During snowstorms sales are down as is production in factories due to absenteeism by employees.
The winter season bolsters the sale of snow shovels, snow plows, ice melts, car batteries, snow tires, tire chains, and the like, while summer- time brings an increase in sales of lawn care products, swimwear, auto tune-ups, sun lotions, and sunglasses.
California's disproportionate amounts of daylight and bright sunshine hours afforded the impetus of an early start to the movie-making and airplane industries. The mild rather predictable weather proved advan-