Clouds cover variability in São Paulo

Clouds cover observations are performed by visual inspection which determines the fraction of the sky that is overcast. However, visual observation of clouds cover is a very subjective method, and can vary significantly among observers. This study examined the variability in clouds cover over the city of São Paulo between 1961 and 2013, using clouds cover fraction data observed at the weather station operated by IAG / USP. The study also used two techniques based on visible radiance data observed by the GOES-10 satellite in order to indirectly estimate clouds cover. In order to ensure consistency, the estimated and observed cloudiness was compared with the clearness index, which is the ratio between the total solar radiation observed at the weather station and the incoming solar irradiation at the top of atmosphere. The study found consistency between the various databases that showed similar behavior in all of the seasons of the year. The largest cloudiness values occurred in the summer and lowest in the winter.