The special sensor microwave imager (SSM/I) is a microwave radiometer having dual-polarized channels at 19.35, 37, and 85.5 GHz and a vertically polarized channel at 22.235 GHz. The measurements at these frequencies are used to retrieve the liquid water path in precipitating and nonprecipitating clouds over oceans. Three separate algorithms, each accurate for different ranges of liquid water, are combined to measure a large dynamic range of cloud liquid water path up to 3.0 mm. The major improvements of our present algorithm over many other previous studies are (1) the algorithm detects the liquid water in optically thin stratus and low-level clouds very well; (2) the algorithm measures the liquid water in highly convective clouds; (3) the algorithm can be applied to any climate regime because some of the coefficients (a1 and a2) are derived using a comprehensive training SSM/I data set obtained from various clear sky conditions; and (4) the liquid water derived using the present algorithm agree with that derived using the ground-based microwave radiometer measurements very well. Global distributions of the cloud liquid water over oceans for August 1993 and January 1994 are derived using the SSM/I data from DMSP F10 and F11 satellites. Our analyses show that the cloud liquid water exhibits a strong diurnal variation over many regions. In particular, the variation over the tropical western Pacific and northwestern Pacific is largest and is attributed to the diurnal variation of raining clouds. The variation over the west coasts of major continents is also very large and is associated with nonraining stratus clouds.