In a follow-up to my post on Monday about weather disasters, Intel has announced that the company's fourth-quarter results are expected to be below previous expectations due to hard disk drive supply shortages. The main reason for the shortage of drives is the floods in Thailand in October and November. No drives means fewer PCs and servers being manufactured which means fewer chips needed. Intel now expects fourth-quarter revenue to be $13.7bn, lower than the previous expectation of $14.7bn.
The company expects hard disk drive supply shortages to continue into the first quarter, followed by a rebuilding of microprocessor inventories as supplies of hard disk drives recover during the first half of 2012.
The disastrous floods in Thailand killed hundreds of people and also caused disruption to a number of hard disk manufacturers, including Seagate, Toshiba and Western Digital. According to The Guardian, world production is expected to fall by about 30% in the fourth quarter.
Following the earthquake in Japan earlier this year, which also disrupted supplies of components across a number of technology industries, including smartphones, this is another reminder of how we are reliant on global supply chains. These events may not themselves be due to climate change, but they are a reminder of the impact of the sorts of extreme weather events that global warming will bring.
ICT can help track weather threats and in various ways help prepare for, and mitigate against, the inevitable impacts of climate change. It’s an important aspect of Green ICT, so it’s rather ironic that the ICT industry itself seems so vulnerable. If the industry really wants to be seen as part of the climate change solution, perhaps this is an area of its own business that it should look at more closely.