Spatiotemporal changes in sunshine duration and cloud amount as well as their relationship in China during 1954–2005



[1] Long-term trends in cloud amount and sunshine duration have been studied based upon surface observations at 618 meteorological stations across China. The degree of agreement between the two measures at interannual and decadal scales is analyzed, and a further understanding of the trends in sunshine duration is presented. A significant decreasing trend has been derived for sunshine duration (SSD) and total cloud cover (TCC); however, low-level cloud cover (LCC) shows an increasing trend, although it is not significant at the 95% level. Interannual variability of SSD is strongly inversely correlated to that of TCC and LCC, indicating short-term variability of SSD is dominantly determined by cloudiness. A positive correlation between decadal changes in SSD and TCC suggests long-term change in TCC cannot account for the decreasing trend in SSD. Long-term change in LCC appears to be one of important contributors to the trend in SSD in southern China, where long-term changes in SSD are inversely correlated to those of LCC. The decreasing trend in SSD is contributed by the declines in average SSDs under clear sky (13%), cloudy (51%), and overcast conditions (36%), 30% of which is offset by an increase in the frequency of clear sky.