Hurricane Fred a New Record: Farthest East

August 31st, 2015 by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.

Newly formed Hurricane Fred over the Cape Verde Islands is, as far as I can tell, the farthest east that a hurricane has formed in the Atlantic, based upon modern historical records. It appears to be only the third hurricane to directly impact the Islands.

This color satellite view from the NASA MODIS imager shows an event we might not see again in our lifetimes (click for full size):

Hurricane Fred over the Cape Verde Islands, 31 August 2015.

Hurricane Fred over the Cape Verde Islands, 31 August 2015.

Fred is traveling northwestward and is not expected to impact North America, and should slowly weaken in the next few days as it encounters colder waters.

28 Responses to “Hurricane Fred a New Record: Farthest East”

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  1. Pathway says:

    Apparently, Fred became Fred before Erika could become Fred.

  2. mpainter says:

    What’s with the dual hurricane symbol? I have never seen that before.

  3. Jack Dale says:

    The marine forecast has it diminishing as it tracks northwest.

  4. jerry l krause says:

    Hi Roy,

    Please respond to my comments of 8/292015 at 10:30 am in response to your post of 8/27/2015, Too Much Cotton Leads to Meltdown.

    Have a good day, Jerry

  5. ELC says:

    OMG. It’s one hurricane after another after another. And every summer it gets hot. Every summer! When are you people just going to admit our SUVs have lit a match under the globe!!!!!111


  6. Peter Yates says:

    There is also an unusual event in the North Pacific. Three category 4 hurricanes at the same time! It has been suggested that they are being seen like that for the first time. (I guess it would be the first time with modern instruments.) … You can see them in a near-real time simulation here: ..

  7. jerry l krause says:

    Hi Roy and others,

    I am not really content with my last attempt (Too Much Cotton Leads to Meltdown 8/31/15 at 6:04pm) to answer the fundamental question: How can (does) the Venus surface have such an extreme temperature? Maybe it does not matter what I write because there is little, to no, evidence that anyone is reading my comments. So I am advertising a bit.

    Roy, I am quite content with what follows that I have also submitted to your previous post. So I plan to submit it to the early part of your future posts until you inform me how to submit photos to you which strongly support the Feynman scattering to which I have referred several times before. Or, until you shut me out as you have DC. One of my life-long objectives has been to present my unique ideas, which I obviously consider worthy of being considered, to others so they cannot state at a later time: I never heard of this or that idea before. It is enough that I know I have put the ball in their court and I have no control over what is done with it. I have started a project and I will try to complete this project (to answer the above fundamental question) to my satisfaction.

    One objective of this project is to demonstrate how I, a chemist, approach my science. Which I consider how many other chemists approach chemistry. Another objective is to bring information to your (Roy and others) attentions that I do not find a common part of the landscape of meteorology and climatology during the past 50 years as the primary focus of these disciplines has shifted almost exclusively to global warming (now climate change) which was clearly based upon the hypothesis known as the greenhouse effect. Whose generally accepted result is that the earth’s temperature would be approximately 70oF less than it now is if not for certain trace gases in its atmosphere. Roy, you have even written that this difference would even be greater according to your reasoning. So, I cannot understand, if these trace gases produce such a significant result, how you, or anyone, can reason that small changes in their concentrations do not have a significant result.

    If I had it in my power I would make R. C. Sutcliffe’s book, Weather and Climate, required reading for anyone who thought they were qualified to discuss these topics. It was published in 1966 by W. W. Norton at the edge of the 50 years to which I just referred. After Chapter One (Introduction), Two (Troposphere, Stratosphere and Beyond), Three (Exploring the Free Atmosphere), Chapter Four is The Classification of Clouds and Chapter Five is The Microphysics of Clouds. Why the immediate focus upon clouds? On the first page of the Chapter Four he wrote: “It would be difficult to overstress the importance of clouds as the necessary intermediary between invisible vapour and falling precipitation in the water cycle upon which all land-life depends, but their importance by no means ends here. Clouds which do not give rain, which never even threaten to give rain but which dissolve again into vapour before the precipitation is ever reached, have a profound effect on our climate.”

    Hence, I repeat: “DC was correct in that you (we) must explain the known facts about the Venus atmospheric system. … DC ignored the 10km thick cloud deck beyond the fact it produced a very significant albedo so that reasonably very little solar radiation could reach the surface of Venus.” A few of you responded to this particular comment but no one commented about the possible influence of the cloud deck beyond that addressed by DC.

    Upon repeated occasions I have drawn attention to (quoted) what Richard Feynman taught physics students at Caltech about light scattering by clouds during the 1961-62 academic year (a little more than 50 years ago). But, to my memory, no one on this site has responded to what he taught. When I bought the three volumes of The Feynman Lectures on Physics, because it seemed the thing a physical chemistry graduate student should do, about fifty years ago, I could not understand anything I read. So I set them aside except to sometimes look to see if he had written about some topic in which I desired to learn more from someone I thought I could trust. From the first time I read the less than two pages he taught about light scattering by clouds I could understand the result of which he taught even if I understood nothing of the physics he also taught about it. I have searched to references to this scattering theory without success.

    So I began to question the validity of his theory for I understood its significance to understanding the influence of clouds upon longwave IR radiation being emitted from (by) the earth’s and the Venusian surfaces. Which in the case of the earth surface, Sutcliffe knew. For, Sutcliffe did not stop writing where I stopped quoting. He continued: “This is obvious enough if we only think of the difference between a cloudy day and a sunny day in summer or between an overcast and a clear frosty night in winter. Taking an overall average, about 50 per cent of the earth’s surface is covered with cloud at any time whereas precipitation is falling over no more than say 3 per cent. Non-precipitating clouds are thus the common variety, rain clouds are the exception.”

    I wrote: If I had it in my power I would make R. C. Sutcliffe’s book, Weather and Climate, required reading for anyone who thought they were qualified to discuss these topics. Now, I write: If I had it in my power I would make anyone who thought they were qualified to discuss weather and climate to first read the first section (Atomic mechanics) of the first chapter (Quantum Behavior) of The Feynman Lectures on Physics Vol. III. I will only quote the last paragraph of this first section: “In this chapter we shall tackle immediately the basic element of the mysterious behavior in its most strange form. We choose to examine a phenomenon which is impossible, absolutely impossible, to explain in any classical way, and which has in it the heart of quantum mechanics. In reality, it contains the only mystery. We cannot make the mystery go away by “explaining” how it works. We will just tell you how it works. In telling you how it works we will have told you about the basic peculiarities of all quantum mechanics.”

    Roy, DC, and others, Feynman has just stated it is impossible, absolutely impossible, to explain (understand) the interaction of light with atomic sized matter in any classical way. Which, the classical way, has been the only attempted way in the case of the greenhouse effect hypothesis. As had been done in failing to consider what should be termed the phenomenon of Feynman scattering because it seems few physicists even know that it (the phenomenon) exists. At the beginning of the third paragraph Feynman had written: “There is one lucky break, however—electrons behave just like light.” I wonder how many physical scientists now (today) know what the observation (phenomenon) was that forced the conclusion that electrons behave just like light?

    Have a good day, Jerry

  8. geran says:

    Hi Jerry.

    Do you know at what point your “quest” turned into obsessive obnoxiousness?

  9. Norman says:

    jerry l krause

    Extracted from your post above: You ask: “Whose generally accepted result is that the earth’s temperature would be approximately 70oF less than it now is if not for certain trace gases in its atmosphere. Roy, you have even written that this difference would even be greater according to your reasoning. So, I cannot understand, if these trace gases produce such a significant result, how you, or anyone, can reason that small changes in their concentrations do not have a significant result.”

    First you have to consider they are “trace” gases when compared to the amount of nonradiating gas like N2 or O2 but there is still quite a number of molecules in a cubic meter.

    Using this calculator:
    If you use carbon dioxide and at 400 PPM concentration you get 775 mg of CO2/m^3. Carbon Dioxide has a molar mass 44 grams/ mole. 775 mg = 0.775 grams. To find moles take (0.775 grams)/(grams/mole) = 0.0176 moles. Multiply moles by Avogadro’s number of 6.022 x 10^23 to get the number of Carbon Dioxide molecules in one cubic meter of air. I get 1.06 x 10^22 molecules.

    Now on the other end. I have read Carbon Dioxide might be responsible for 10% of the GHE. If the GHE is 340 watts/m^2 it would mean CO2 is responsible for 34 watts/m^2. A photon of 14 micrometer wavelength IR (Carbon Dioxide’s strong absorbing band) has an individual energy of 1.42 x 10^-20 joules.
    Using this calculator:

    The inverse will give you number of photons in one joule.
    1/1.42×10^-20)=7.04 x 10^19 photons of 14 micrometer in one joule of energy.

    I realize I am not calculating this correctly it is just to give you a ballpark idea.

    34 joules x number of photons 2.4 x 10^21 photons. So you have enough carbon dioxide molecules available to be absorbing all the 14 mirometer IR given off by the Earth’s surface.

    changing the number of Carbon Dioxide molecules does not seem it would affect the outcome much. I think the phenomena is based upon layering effect.

  10. jerry l krause says:

    Hi Norman,

    Thank you again for your efforts, but I am trying to demonstrate how I, as a chemist, would tackle this problem by qualitative analysis instead of rushing to do quantitative calculations. After I received my degree in physical chemistry I interviewed at two colleges. The chemistry department chairman at both had arranged that I interview with the chairman of the physics department also. But before sending me to do this, both chemistry chairman told me that the two departments did not have good relationships. My graduate research was in solid state chemistry and there were enough students that we had a regular solid state seminar time and the solid state physicist was invited to attend because he had not yet established a research group. Eventually it was time for the physicist to give a seminar about the work he had done. At the question-answer period which followed the chemistry professors protested that while his calculations resulted in a result that satisfied what had been observed, his calculations were next to worthless because they had not begun with a realistic model. We graduate students for the ‘heat’ that resulted and the physics professor never attended our seminars again. So, I have started my project because I know I approach problems differently than most who participate here. While an objective is illustrate this difference and more important objective is to inform others about what other signficant scientists, such as Sutcliffe and Feynman have written.

    Have a good day, Jerry

  11. Norman says:

    Jerry L Krause,

    My problem with climatology is it is now a political movement moved by the liberal and conservative forces (you know who you are!) instead of a scientific discipline! It seems impossible to debate various ideas about climate, which as Roy expressed, is a very complex system with many variables and inputs in a rigid science format. This would entail gathering data, constructing theories, looking for flaws and weakness in a given idea, reflecting, learning and gaining knowledge and improving the science. Now it is if you accept CAGW you are right in the Liberal world and an idiot in the conservative world. It no longer resembles a scientific pursuit of truth but a distorted political movement where data manipulation becomes the Norm and is accepted and no one seems able to debate issues on the side of scientific endeavor but now you have to belong to some side, either the Earth is doomed without immediate action or you are a blithering idiot for thinking this.

    • jerry l krause says:

      Hi Norman,

      I had been thinking about what I had written to you before I read your last comments. I have no idea of what your background (experience) is. I was thinking of an editorial by the editor of Science or Nature I had read a long time ago. The title was Make Friends With A Chemist or something close to this. The topic was quantum mechanics.

      This editor recognized that many physicists had a difficult time accepting the validity of quantum mechanics because they concluded (considered) it overturned the classical physics they knew. Newton was wrong. Whereas chemists embraced quantum mechanics because it finally explained what they already knew, the geometric structure of molecules. Since Dalton in 1803 proposed his atomic theory of matter, chemists had worked with the invisible world of atoms. And these scientists (chemists) could only learn about this invisible world by doing experiments and by considering the results of experiments performed by a few talented experimental physicists.

      I have written this before but I repeat without directly quoting Feynman. He began his lectures on physics by putting the atomic theory of matter together with the kinetic theory of gases in a single sentence. Which from my perspective was only chemistry. I find it strange that those who routinely claim this person or that person do not know their physics seem to ignore the fact of what Feynman taught that I bring to their attention.

      I do not agree with you that the state of science is a political problem. The problem is the same faced by Copernicus and Galileo; people who have risen to positions of authority cannot readily admit they are wrong when they are wrong.

      Have a good day, Jerry

      • Norman says:

        jerry l krause

        Like you I have a BA in Chemistry and work as a lab tech.

        Your statement: “I do not agree with you that the state of science is a political problem.”

        This was not aimed at science in general (which has the egotists unable to see a flaw in their thinking) but only Climate Science which seems to have the two camps.

        If you tend toward the Liberal side of the political spectrum CAGW is a proven fact and any disagreement gets you the label of “science denier” and this camp will only study and discuss the science that proves their camp is the correct one and the other side are blind morons.

        The Conservatives do not believe the CAGW and a lot don’t even seem to accept the GHE at all and likewise believe anyone outside of their tight camp is a moron that hasn’t go a clue.

        The political side of science seems to be very strong in the Climate debates.

        Hope the long post does not annoy dave.

        • dave says:

          “Hope the long post does not annoy dave…”

          Just don’t do it again!

          Actually, the divide is not always political.
          My, now deceased, brother believed in CAGW, but we had the same politics.

          • Norman says:


            You and your brother (sorry he passed, are you on the older spectrum of age?) can be the exception. I look at the different blogs on Climate. Skeptical Science (lots of anti-Republican stuff on that one) or Open Mind with Tamino seems really a liberal person in other areas. Then you have the Conservative WUWT and most posters seem to be of the Conservative camp even when it comes to none Climate issues. I think Roy might have a good balance of both.

      • jerry l krause says:

        Hi Norman,

        Maybe you are younger than what I considered you might be. So I review some history which is never discussed in any chemistry classes that I know. This even though one involves a Nobel Prize Winner in Chemistry.

        I could begin in the 19th Century with Louis Agassiz vs. Darwinian Evolution, but that was only a religious issue which was the reverse of that faced by Galileo. Next, early 20th Century was Alfred Wegener and proponents of Continental Drift vs. the geological community led by an authority which I do not take to the time to look up. Pure science. 1950, geological community threaten to boycott McMillian’s textbook division if they published Immanuel Velikovsky’s book World in Collision. Pure science. H. C. Brown, a future Nobel Prize Winner, was unable to get reports of his experimental work which challenged the theory of the 2-norbornyl cation published by any respected chemical journal. Pure science. Lewis A. Frank, small comets, a very respected scientist lost his colleague friends and funding because he insisted two articles reporting atmospheric observations of thousands of small comets entering the earth’s atmosphere and the second about his hypothesis about what he claimed to have observed. Pure science.

        Actually, the pure science was rotten science on the part of those who opposed scientific ideas and efforts with which they did not agree.

        Have a good day, Jerry

  12. dave says:

    Dr Spencer,

    Cotton may have been tamed, but Nature abhors a vacuum.

    “Tripadvisor” has a system whereby each comment only shows the first couple of lines; one may click “More” to see the whole. Can not you adopt this?

  13. dave says:

    ‘Remote Sensing Systems’ has issued their anomalies figure for August, for the globe, for the lower troposphere:

    Jan 2015 + 0.3669 C

    Feb + 0.3268

    Mar + 0.2543

    Apr + 0.1745

    May + 0.3094

    Jun + 0.3906

    Jul + 0.2880

    AUG 2015 + 0.3904 C

    (APR 1998 + 0.8573 C)

  14. Walt Allensworth says:

    When I saw that hurricane symbol over the Cape Verde islands on the NOAA Hurricane site I thought to myself “Never saw that before!”
    Your post here confirms it. A very rare and early “spin up.”

  15. rah says:

    Joe Bastardi said this is possibly a once in a life time event.

    • dave says:

      “…a once in a life-time event.”

      ‘Tis pity I was aleep, then.

      Or as the Frog Song of Paul Macartney goes,

      “Listen, Son, this only happens once every two hundred years. If you don’t behave yourself, I won’t bring you to the next one!

  16. J Calvert N says:

    Does this spell trouble for the Cape Verde Islands?

    Islands where hurricanes are a regular occurence have evolved suitable building codes and emercency plans and rpocedures to deal with them. Whereas islands that do not have to deal with hurricanes could be completely unprepared.

    • mpainter says:

      For low islands such as the Bahamas or atolls, there is no escape from a killer hurricane. See the Great Hurricane of 1780. The death toll put at 20-25 K, this when island populations were maybe one tenth today’s.

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