Cloud climatology of the Indian Ocean based on ship observations
Keywords:Cloud climatology, Indian Ocean, Summer monsoon, Decadal variation
Surface cloud data based on synoptic observations made by Voluntary Observing Ships (VOS) during the period 1951-98 were used to prepare the seasonal and annual cloud climatology of the Indian Ocean. The analysis has been carried out by separating the long-term trends, decadal and inter-annual components from the monthly cloud anomaly time series at each 5° × 5° grids.
Maximum zone of total and low cloud cover shifts from equator to northern parts of India during the monsoon season. During the monsoon season (June-September), maximum total cloud cover exceeding 70% and low cloud cover exceeding 50% are observed over north Bay of Bengal. Maximum standard deviation of total and low cloud cover is observed near the equator and in the southern hemisphere. Both total and low cloud cover over Arabian Sea and the equatorial Indian Ocean are observed to decrease during the ENSO events. However, cloud cover over Bay of Bengal is not modulated by the ENSO events. On inter-decadal scale, low cloud cover shifted from a "low regime" to a "high regime" after 1980 which may be associated with the corresponding inter-decadal changes of sea surface temperatures over north Indian Ocean observed during the late 1970s.
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