skip to main content
OSTI.GOV title logo U.S. Department of Energy
Office of Scientific and Technical Information

Title: A Gridded Climatology of Clouds over Land (1971-1996) and Ocean (1954-2008) from Surface Observations Worldwide (NDP-026E)*

Abstract

Surface synoptic weather reports from ships and land stations worldwide were processed to produce a global cloud climatology which includes: total cloud cover, the amount and frequency of occurrence of nine cloud types within three levels of the troposphere, the frequency of occurrence of clear sky and of precipitation, the base heights of low clouds, and the non-overlapped amounts of middle and high clouds. Synoptic weather reports are made every three hours; the cloud information in a report is obtained visually by human observers. The reports used here cover the period 1971-96 for land and 1954-2008 for ocean. This digital archive provides multi-year monthly, seasonal, and annual averages in 5x5-degree grid boxes (or 10x10-degree boxes for some quantities over the ocean). Daytime and nighttime averages, as well as the diurnal average (average of day and night), are given. Nighttime averages were computed using only those reports that met an "illuminance criterion" (i.e., made under adequate moonlight or twilight), thus minimizing the "night-detection bias" and making possible the determination of diurnal cycles and nighttime trends for cloud types. The phase and amplitude of the first harmonic of both the diurnal cycle and the annual cycle are given for the various cloudmore » types. Cloud averages for individual years are also given for the ocean for each of 4 seasons, and for each of the 12 months (daytime-only averages for the months). [Individual years for land are not gridded, but are given for individual stations in a companion data set, CDIAC's NDP-026D).] This analysis used 185 million reports from 5388 weather stations on continents and islands, and 50 million reports from ships; these reports passed a series of quality-control checks. This analysis updates (and in most ways supercedes) the previous cloud climatology constructed by the authors in the 1980s. Many of the long-term averages described here are mapped on the University of Washington, Department of Atmospheric Sciences Web site. The Online Cloud Atlas containing NDP-026E data is available via the University of Washington.« less

Authors:
 [1];  [2]
  1. University of Arizona
  2. University of Washington
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Environmental System Science Data Infrastructure for a Virtual Ecosystem (ESS-DIVE) (United States); Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center (CDIAC), Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Biological and Environmental Research (BER)
OSTI Identifier:
1394933
Report Number(s):
NDP-026E
Resource Type:
Data
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES

Citation Formats

Hahn, C. J., and Warren, S. G. A Gridded Climatology of Clouds over Land (1971-1996) and Ocean (1954-2008) from Surface Observations Worldwide (NDP-026E)*. United States: N. p., 2007. Web. doi:10.3334/CDIAC/cli.ndp026e.
Hahn, C. J., & Warren, S. G. A Gridded Climatology of Clouds over Land (1971-1996) and Ocean (1954-2008) from Surface Observations Worldwide (NDP-026E)*. United States. doi:10.3334/CDIAC/cli.ndp026e.
Hahn, C. J., and Warren, S. G. Mon . "A Gridded Climatology of Clouds over Land (1971-1996) and Ocean (1954-2008) from Surface Observations Worldwide (NDP-026E)*". United States. doi:10.3334/CDIAC/cli.ndp026e. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1394933.
@article{osti_1394933,
title = {A Gridded Climatology of Clouds over Land (1971-1996) and Ocean (1954-2008) from Surface Observations Worldwide (NDP-026E)*},
author = {Hahn, C. J. and Warren, S. G.},
abstractNote = {Surface synoptic weather reports from ships and land stations worldwide were processed to produce a global cloud climatology which includes: total cloud cover, the amount and frequency of occurrence of nine cloud types within three levels of the troposphere, the frequency of occurrence of clear sky and of precipitation, the base heights of low clouds, and the non-overlapped amounts of middle and high clouds. Synoptic weather reports are made every three hours; the cloud information in a report is obtained visually by human observers. The reports used here cover the period 1971-96 for land and 1954-2008 for ocean. This digital archive provides multi-year monthly, seasonal, and annual averages in 5x5-degree grid boxes (or 10x10-degree boxes for some quantities over the ocean). Daytime and nighttime averages, as well as the diurnal average (average of day and night), are given. Nighttime averages were computed using only those reports that met an "illuminance criterion" (i.e., made under adequate moonlight or twilight), thus minimizing the "night-detection bias" and making possible the determination of diurnal cycles and nighttime trends for cloud types. The phase and amplitude of the first harmonic of both the diurnal cycle and the annual cycle are given for the various cloud types. Cloud averages for individual years are also given for the ocean for each of 4 seasons, and for each of the 12 months (daytime-only averages for the months). [Individual years for land are not gridded, but are given for individual stations in a companion data set, CDIAC's NDP-026D).] This analysis used 185 million reports from 5388 weather stations on continents and islands, and 50 million reports from ships; these reports passed a series of quality-control checks. This analysis updates (and in most ways supercedes) the previous cloud climatology constructed by the authors in the 1980s. Many of the long-term averages described here are mapped on the University of Washington, Department of Atmospheric Sciences Web site. The Online Cloud Atlas containing NDP-026E data is available via the University of Washington.},
doi = {10.3334/CDIAC/cli.ndp026e},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {2007},
month = {1}
}

Works referencing / citing this record:

Macro- and Microphysical Characteristics of Precipitating and Non-Precipitating Stratocumulus Clouds over Eastern China
journal, June 2018


Macro- and Microphysical Characteristics of Precipitating and Non-Precipitating Stratocumulus Clouds over Eastern China
journal, June 2018


Evolution of Stratocumulus Over Land: Comparison of Ground and Aircraft Observations with Numerical Weather Prediction Simulations
journal, July 2014

  • Osborne, Simon R.; Abel, Steven J.; Boutle, Ian A.
  • Boundary-Layer Meteorology, Vol. 153, Issue 2
  • DOI: 10.1007/s10546-014-9944-0

Estimates of entrainment in closed cellular marine stratocumulus clouds from the MAGIC field campaign
journal, March 2019

  • Ghate, Virendra P.; Mechem, David B.; Cadeddu, Maria P.
  • Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, Vol. 145, Issue 721
  • DOI: 10.1002/qj.3514

Quantifying the transport of subcloud layer reactants by shallow cumulus clouds over the Amazon
journal, December 2013

  • Ouwersloot, H. G.; de Arellano, J. Vilà-Guerau; H. van Stratum, B. J.
  • Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, Vol. 118, Issue 23, p. 13,041-13,059
  • DOI: 10.1002/2013jd020431

Satellite‐Based Estimation of Cloud Top Radiative Cooling Rate for Marine Stratocumulus
journal, April 2019

  • Zheng, Youtong; Rosenfeld, Daniel; Zhu, Yannian
  • Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 46, Issue 8
  • DOI: 10.1029/2019gl082094

Quantifying variations in shortwave aerosol–cloud–radiation interactions using local meteorology and cloud state constraints
journal, January 2019


Effects of temporal averaging on short-term irradiance variability under mixed sky conditions
journal, January 2018

  • Lohmann, Gerald M.; Monahan, Adam H.
  • Atmospheric Measurement Techniques, Vol. 11, Issue 5
  • DOI: 10.5194/amt-11-3131-2018

European climatology of fog and low stratus based on geostationary satellite observations: SATELLITE FOG/LOW STRATUS CLIMATOLOGY
journal, October 2009

  • Cermak, Jan; Eastman, Ryan M.; Bendix, Jörg
  • Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, Vol. 135, Issue 645
  • DOI: 10.1002/qj.503

Quantifying the transport of subcloud layer reactants by shallow cumulus clouds over the Amazon
journal, December 2013

  • Ouwersloot, H. G.; de Arellano, J. Vilà-Guerau; H. van Stratum, B. J.
  • Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, Vol. 118, Issue 23, p. 13,041-13,059
  • DOI: 10.1002/2013jd020431