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Advances in Meteorology
Volume 2012, Article ID 542093, 15 pages
Research Article

Climatology of Total Cloudiness in the Arctic: An Intercomparison of Observations and Reanalyses

A.M. Obukhov Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Russian Academy of Sciences, 3 Pyzhevsky, Moscow 119017, Russia

Received 15 September 2011; Revised 25 December 2011; Accepted 10 January 2012

Academic Editor: Irina Repina

Copyright © 2012 Alexander Chernokulsky and Igor I. Mokhov. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Total cloud fraction over the Arctic (north of 60°N) has been evaluated and intercompared based on 16 Arctic cloud climatologies from different satellite and surface observations and reanalyses. The Arctic annual-mean total cloud fraction is about 0 . 7 0 ± 0 . 0 3 according to different observational data. It is greater over the ocean ( 0 . 7 4 ± 0 . 0 4 ) and less over land ( 0 . 6 7 ± 0 . 0 3 ). Different observations for total cloud fraction are in a better agreement in summer than in winter and over the ocean than over land. An interannual variability is higher in winter than in summer according to all observations. The Arctic total cloud fraction has a prominent annual cycle according to most of the observations. The time of its maximum concurs with the time of the sea ice extent minimum (early summer–late autumn) and vice versa (late spring). The main reason for the discrepancies among observations is the difference in the cloud-detection algorithms, especially when clouds are detected over the ice/snow surface (during the whole year) or over the regions with the presence of strong low-tropospheric temperature inversions (mostly in winter). Generally, reanalyses are not in a close agreement with satellite and surface observations of cloudiness in the Arctic.