Monthly and Seasonal Cloud Cover Patterns at the Manila Observatory (14.64°N, 121.08°E)

Wednesday, 17 December 2014
Nofel Lagrosas, Ateneo de Manila University, Manila Observatory, Quezon City, Philippines, Carlo Ting Antioquia, Ateneo de Manila University, Quezon City, Philippines and Kevin Caballa, Manila Observatory, Quezon City, Philippines
A ground based sky imaging system was developed at the Manila Observatory in 2012 to measure cloud occurrence and to analyse seasonal variation of cloud cover over Metro Manila. Ground-based cloud occurrence measurements provide more reliable results compared to satellite observations. Also, cloud occurrence data aid in the analysis of radiation budget in the atmosphere. In this study, a GoPro Hero 2 with almost 180o field of view is employed to take pictures of the atmosphere. These pictures are taken continuously, having a temporal resolution of 1min. Atmospheric images from April 2012 to June 2013 (excluding the months of September, October, and November 2012) were processed to determine cloud cover. Cloud cover in an image is measured as the ratio of the number of pixels with clouds present in them to the total number of pixels. The cloud cover values were then averaged over each month to know its monthly and seasonal variation. In Metro Manila, the dry season occurs in the months of November to May of the next year, while the wet season occurs in the months of June to October of the same year. Fig 1 shows the measured monthly variation of cloud cover. No data was collected during the months of September (wherein the camera was used for the 7SEAS field campaign), October, and November 2012 (due to maintenance and repairs). Results show that there is high cloud cover during the wet season months (80% on average) while there is low cloud cover during the dry season months (62% on average). The lowest average cloud cover for a wet season month occurred in June 2012 (73%) while the highest average cloud cover for a wet season month occurred in June 2013 (86%). The variations in cloud cover average in this season is relatively smaller compared to that of the dry season wherein the lowest average cloud cover in a month was during April 2012 (38%) while the highest average cloud cover in a month was during January 2013 (77%); minimum and maximum averages being 39% apart. During the wet season, the cloud occurrence is mainly due to tropical storms, Southwest Monsoon, and local convection processes. In the dry season, less cloud is formed because of cold dry air from Northeast Monsoon (December to February) and generally dry and hot weather (March to May). Regular data collection has been implemented for further long term data analysis.