GOES digital imagery has been collected and processed using new techniques over portions of the United States since March 1988. High spatial and temporal resolution satellite cloud composite climatologies (SCCCs) have been produced that represent cloud frequency maps for each season. For each month studied, the cloud composite products represent the cloud occurrence frequency for each GOES pixel location and depict the overall spatial distribution of cloud cover over large portions of the United States.
The satellite composites present a new cloud climatology at a greater spatial and temporal resolution than previously available. Composites with ground resolutions of 2.5 km at hourly time intervals show striking patterns of cloud cover that are not detected in preexisting cloud climatologies.
A comparison between the SCCCs and climatologies produced from conventional surface observations is presented. The comparison is quite good for most stations, yet some significant differences are noted and discussed. Cloud occurrence in the vast areas between surface observing sites can now be analyzed using the new SCCC tool.
*Present affiliation, University of Alabama–Huntsville.
+Principal affiliation, Colorado State University.