Hurricane Joaquin: “Established by God”

September 30th, 2015 by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.
Hurricane Joaquin as imaged by the NASA MODIS instrument mid-day Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2015 (Google Earth remap).

Hurricane Joaquin as imaged by the NASA MODIS instrument mid-day Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2015 (Google Earth remap).

After ten years without a major (Cat3+) hurricane hit on the U.S., intensifying Hurricane Joaquin (from the Hebrew for “established by Jehovah”) is causing understandable nervousness along the East Coast.

The storm is still meandering east of the Bahamas, and there is great uncertainty about just when it will be picked up by an approaching trough from the west. The National Hurricane Center is calling for it to reach “major hurricane” status, but as can be seen in the following graphic, the model guidance is all over the map regarding the track:


We will know more in the next day or two, but one very real possibility is that the hurricane will join forces with the weather system approaching from the west, and cause some pretty nasty flooding from the Carolinas up through the mid-Atlantic, along with widespread high winds.

Nothing is for sure right now, so stay tuned.

20 Responses to “Hurricane Joaquin: “Established by God””

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  1. rah says:

    Joe Bastardi has put his hat in the ring and shows it coming ashore and combined with a NorEaster causing huge waves along the eastern seaboard. Going to be interesting but one thing is for sure. If this hurricane does cause serious damage somebody is going to blame it on us humans and our activities.

  2. Thanks, Dr. Spencer.
    Yes, Joaquin is one storm to watch carefully.

  3. Ryan Shaffer says:

    Must be global warming…

    • David Appell says:

      How do you separate human influences from natural influences?

      • Norman says:

        David Appell,

        The first thing you need are honest researchers who care more about the truth than a political agenda or a paycheck based upon getting the “right” results by whoever is funding them.

        You can get a fairly good grasp of what is natural and what is caused by humans by looking at past events when people had little influence then comparing to the current now alleged great influence (global warming has been blamed on more floods, droughts, heat waves, snow storms, super storms, bug infestation, Syrian revolutionary war…these are just the tip of the iceberg).

        You maybe are of the belief that a 1C change in temperature in 100 years is causing these terrible weather patterns to emerge. Just how does this work with your current understanding of physics and atmosphere dynamics? Storms are the result of pressure differentials between air masses and moisture content. How much more moisture will a 1 C warmer air hold? How much more density difference between air masses will develop. I hear lots of blame on climate change but very little science to back it up.

        • Norman says:

          David Appell,

          I might have not done the calculations correctly. I am using this tool (if the link works).

          I set the temperature to 15C with a relative humidity of 100% and checked the absolute humidity in grams/m^3.

          I then put in 16C and got the value. I divided the higher value from the lower and got a ratio of 1.06. I am thinking this would mean that air that would rain 1 inch at 15C average global temp would increase to 1.06″ at 16C. Not much of a difference.

          I could be wrong in what I am doing and that is why I included the link.

          I think if you would do the same to pressure differentials to see if global warming of 1C would greatly change wind speed I think the difference in air density from 15C to 16C is not much.

          You are an advanced physics student. Where does your fanatic belief come from? It can’t come from the actual science as this does not show it.

          It is a Roy Spencer stated. If no one showed you a graph of Global Warming (less than 1 C change in 100 years) you would never even know it is happening.

          • Erik Magnuson says:


            A simple rule of thumb is that absolute humidity roughly doubles for every 20F (~11C) increase in dew point. A 1C increase in dew point doesn’t make for much of a difference.

        • Norman says:

          Erik Magnuson

          Thank you. That is kind of what I was thinking but was not certain.

          That is why I think the Climate Change crowd is so deceptive. If the temperature did go up 10C that would be a very significant change and climate chaos would be more likely. That they make claims (based upon model runs) that the slight increase in temperature over a century is making crazy weather patterns makes me question the credibility of these researchers.

  4. ren says:

    To the east, meet cool air from Canada and warm from the Atlantic. There will be floods on the east coast.

  5. Andrew Bergemann says:

    I know Sandy was only category 2 at landfall in the United States, but I would still call it a major hurricane hit.

    • mpainter says:

      Andrew Bergemann, actually Sandy was downgraded to storm status before landfall, this by the National Hurricane center. If you wish to avoid the appearance of an ignorant fool, you must not import what you read at alarmist sites to this blog.

      • Andrew Bergemann says:

        My apologies, I was not being careful enough about accuracy. Allow me to quote the NHC directly:

        The number of direct deaths caused by Sandy is estimated at 147; Table 8 records the
        deaths by country. In the United States, 72 direct deaths were noted, making Sandy the deadliest
        U.S. cyclone outside of the southern states since Agnes (1972). While NHCs direct death
        counts do not typically include fatalities that occur after extratropical transition, the non-tropical
        status of Sandy for 2.5 h prior to landfall had no effect on the surge experienced along the coast.

        • rah says:

          Deaths or damage have NOTHING to do with the Saffir-Simpson classification of a hurricane.
          Allow me to quote the National Hurricane Center:

          “The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale is a 1 to 5 rating based on a hurricane’s sustained wind speed. This scale estimates potential property damage. Hurricanes reaching Category 3 and higher are considered major hurricanes because of their potential for significant loss of life and damage. Category 1 and 2 storms are still dangerous, however, and require preventative measures. In the western North Pacific, the term “super typhoon” is used for tropical cyclones with sustained winds exceeding 150 mph.”

        • mpainter says:

          Still cranking out the alarms, Andrew Bergemann?

          “I was not careful enough about accuracy”.

          You are not the type that aims for accuracy. No alarmist is. The storm surge was on top of a spring tide, hence the high water is not fully attributable to the storm. You, like all alarmists, cite the death toll as a triumph instead of a tragedy. But in fact, it was due mostly to flooding. You ignore demographics, coastal development, all the factors of growth that contribute to the toll. Accuracy is not in the alarmist playbook.

          • Andrew Bergemann says:


            You really have misunderstood me. I am an “alarmist” as you call me, but I am not linking hurricane activity to global warming. I think the connection is complex and frankly tenuous. I certainly do not revel in the tragedy, having lived through it in Brooklyn. I was just feel that a hurricane that affected the lives of so many should not be overlooked in a discussion of hurricanes of the last decade.

          • mpainter says:

            Andrew Bergemann,

            You can rest assured that that _extratropical_storm_ Sandy has not been overlooked by insurance company actuaries. If you wish to apportion blame, then public officials are due their share. My own feeling is if you build or live on the strand line, then you have no basis for complaint when nature’s dice come up snake-eyes. See the Wikipedia list of New York hurricanes and cyclones: 84 since records began.

  6. ossqss says:

    The models are all over the place with this storm. What a mess. Latest is a definitive easterly swing as show by the NHC aggregation of such today. Will it phase with the trough? Will the massive high over Canada have more influence? Will the remnants of the storm east of it play a bigger role.

    All this while it is still moving SW at this moment.

    • Erik Magnuson says:

      That’s what impressed me about the track guidance chart that Roy posted – HUGE differences in tracks. It’s almost as bad as getting a consistent story out of a politician.

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