Variations in cloud cover and cloud types over the Ocean from surface observations, 1954–2008

Synoptic weather observations from ships throughout the World Ocean have been analyzed to produce a climatology of total cloud cover and the amounts of nine cloud types. About 54 million observations contributed to the climatology, which now covers 55 years from 1954 to 2008. In this work, interannual variations of seasonal cloud amounts are analyzed in 10° grid boxes. Long-term variations O(5–10 yr), coherent across multiple latitude bands, remain present in the updated cloud data. A comparison to coincident data on islands indicates that the coherent variations are probably spurious. An exact cause for this behavior remains elusive. The globally coherent variations are removed from the gridbox time series using a Butterworth filter before further analysis.

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