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Old 01-08-2011, 05:22 PM
 
268 posts, read 185,629 times
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But different cities may have used different methods over the years. Some may have acquired better measurement tools while others didn't switch over for a few years. We are talking over 100+ years of data that may not be as accurate. Those stats for Pittsburgh are from MANY MANY years. It would be WAY more helpful to look at them currently, in the past 15-20 years for more accuracy.

The point is, you can't look at 203 cloudy days, 103 p. cloudy, and 59 clear along with 45% possible sunshine as 100% factual to Pittsburgh currently. It's subjected to change. It won't change to the point of being as sunny as Phoenix and may not outnumber Philly in sunny days. BUT, it has the possibility to move up in the ranking compared to many Northeast and Great Lake cities. So saying Cleveland is sunnier may not be true. April-October may have become sunnier in recent years.

 
Old 01-08-2011, 05:25 PM
 
268 posts, read 185,629 times
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So no, NOT every city was using the same one-shoe size fits all measurement tool for measuring sunshine data. Some may not have switched over right away or had the funding. Today, there should not be many discrepancies. But we are talking over 100+ years. When I get a chance I will post sunshine hour data from 1895-1987 and "Cloud cover bias at airports."
 
Old 01-08-2011, 06:31 PM
Status: "Fall is almost over!" (set 18 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
69,637 posts, read 59,710,798 times
Reputation: 19962
Quote:
Originally Posted by mike02 View Post
But different cities may have used different methods over the years. Some may have acquired better measurement tools while others didn't switch over for a few years. We are talking over 100+ years of data that may not be as accurate. Those stats for Pittsburgh are from MANY MANY years. It would be WAY more helpful to look at them currently, in the past 15-20 years for more accuracy.

The point is, you can't look at 203 cloudy days, 103 p. cloudy, and 59 clear along with 45% possible sunshine as 100% factual to Pittsburgh currently. It's subjected to change. It won't change to the point of being as sunny as Phoenix and may not outnumber Philly in sunny days. BUT, it has the possibility to move up in the ranking compared to many Northeast and Great Lake cities. So saying Cleveland is sunnier may not be true. April-October may have become sunnier in recent years.
This link, posted previously, shows the # of years data has been collected. Pittsburgh's is 49. Other NWS stats I have seen give numbers for the last 30 years.
 
Old 01-08-2011, 09:50 PM
 
1,158 posts, read 1,023,198 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaBurgh View Post
If happiness means that the sun must always be shining, it could reflect some deeper personality problems. The weather isn't supposed to have that much of an impact on lives.
You have a very good point with that statement^. People keep making reference to SAD as being responsible for bad moods, but I don't know if any study could be conclusive as to how dysmorphia, moodiness, depression, etc could be totally attributed to weather.

There are just too many variables like sleep, exercise, health problems, chronic pain, job and relationship satisfaction, etc that would interfere with the study's ablity to isolate weather 's influence as the sole causative factor of their "depression". It just seems to me it's the easiest and one of the most obvious "foul mood factors" to blame when in reality these people really may need some counseling to get to the real root of what is bothering them.

Maybe gray skies don't bother me as much as someone else because I have enough of the other elements in my environment that make up for what is lacking.

For instance, I have been to some places out west where there may have been more sunshine but I found myself surrounded by a shi#!-brown environment which left me feeling totally dry and lifeless.
Maybe to me,the cloudiness here is made up for by the rest of the environment being so lush and green and the compensation is such that overall, I am not affected. During the winter, the snow's whiteness keeps everything much lighter and brighter. Early Spring ,after the snow melts but nothing is budding on the trees yet is not that hard to cope with knowing that Winter is over anyway.
 
Old 01-08-2011, 10:44 PM
 
Location: Under Mount Doom
9,144 posts, read 5,972,454 times
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Good points Rhondee,

I am thinking of the old Simon and Garfunkel song..

" A winter's day, in a deep and dark December, I am alooone..."

Seems like the dude has more than winter weather in his mind. I suspect if one is grappling with depression, gloom might just be the last straw...

And when I think of all the people moving to New Mexico from the northeast, I wonder if they might be looking for more than sunshine...
 
Old 01-08-2011, 11:17 PM
 
Location: Pittsburgh area
9,886 posts, read 9,928,549 times
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So for kicks, because I have nothing too much better to do while watching the NFL playoffs, I went back through the whole damn thread, even the 2009 stuff. A few things I noticed:

The same stats were cited over and over, sometimes on different sites, including this one. They all go back to the NOAA stats. And there were a lot of subjective remarks, which brings out the defensive in people, naturally. And the thread would have died at least twice if not for trolling by reddesertfox. (It's the same post over and over essentially, for no reason when the thread was dead for months.) I lost track now I realize (not going to do it again!) of whether all the stat posters live outside the area, but the recent stat posters do.

The idea of questioning how the stats are kept and that such stats give the impression the sun only shines 50-odd days a year goes back to the very beginning:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny C View Post
Exactly - those "cloudy day" stats often give the impression that the sun was only seen 55 times a year, which is ridiculous. There are plenty of days that start out cloudy but end up sunny or vice versa, but the stats have a hard time capturing them. Pittsburgh has a good deal of overcast / cloudy days - I am not disputing this fact. Just realize that the stats don't portrait what its like to live here or how much you really see the sun.
Not to mention the non-dispute that there are many overcast days. It says the stats don't portray what it is like to live here. That is a repeating theme as well, one I would generally agree with.

Another early post on the stats; we're not the only ones who wonder about the stats (I'll get to how I still wonder about them in a minute):

Quote:
Originally Posted by chicknpotpie View Post
Actually I just found another forum that said that the stats are skewed because they considered it a cloudy day when any part of the day was cloudy.
This was posted twice but doesn't help us much in defining the other chart which lists only clear, partly and cloudy. The 7/8 measurements refer to how much of the sky is covered at a given time, not how much of the day:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
Term Cloud Cover
Cloudy 8/8
Mostly Cloudy 6/8 - 7/8
Partly Cloudy or
Partly Sunny 3/8 - 5/8

Mostly Clear or
Mostly Sunny 1/8 to 2/8
Clear or Sunny less than 1/8
Which plays into this, kind of:

Quote:
Originally Posted by North Beach Person View Post
You all need to define "sunshine". while I don't live in PA any longer I seem to remember a lot of sunny days growing up, in all the seasons.
Quote:
Originally Posted by h_curtis View Post
You are correct. Just because a day has clouds during part of it, doesn't mean it is a cloudy place ALL the time. The statistics seem to want there to be sun every minute of the day to be counted. i think there has been quite a bit of sun in the past several years and I lived in Florida for a decade.
"Define sunshine" is a way of saying we need something that would help us know what the 59/103/203 numbers mean. The reply to it is just another observation from someone who moved in from another place who seems to be wondering where all the cloudy days are.

And finally there was this just yesterday, with different stats on solar radiation and such. They're very old but that may not matter, and it's interesting because these all refer only to daytime:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fiddlehead View Post
Well, I am a super fan of the Burgh, and in complete agreement that weather is subjective. Some love sun, some love gloom, and some love snow. Viva la difference! However, I am still going to side with the person who is thinking that straightshooting with nonresidents, not the stroking the ego of the locals, is the most important function of city data. Here are some yearly solar radiation maps from this site:General Climate Information
If you look at the various maps on that site on an annual basis you can see the bands that Pittsburgh is in. A large swath of the northeast is in the same band, but not everything that's right on top of the coast, which is not surprising. I noticed in the charts too, a lot of great lakes area is similar, not to mention that it seems the Appalachians are a line of sorts between the bit more sunny coast and the inland places like here.

There's been a lot of emphasis on the 59 and 203 days stats, maybe not so much directly referencing those numbers in the posts, but those are the charts that are linked over and over. And the question that has still not been answered on these stats: how much sunshine in a day does it take to move a day out of the cloudy column? It's possible it takes a number of hours of clear to get it out of the cloudy column.

Or is the entire thing calculated by hours instead of days? You could then on a monthly or annual basis take those hours and artificially reconstitute them into "days". It's possible this is how it's done, in which case there is no question of how much time it takes for the day to not be cloudy, but in fact you are left with no clue how many days might have a little sun.

Either way skews the data somewhat; it helps to know how it's skewed. I also wanted to see what this site from Penn State says http://climate.met.psu.edu/www_prod/ (broken link) but the relevant section is unfortunately not loading at the moment. I don't know if they actually keep data different from the NOAA data or not.

In the end maybe the data being skewed doesn't matter for comparison, as the compared places would suffer similarly. But it still matters when wondering why the observation of own two eyes doesn't match up with 203 completely cloudy days each year. (Okay, probably 25 or so days of the year most years I'm not here, heh, so no, I can't quite observe them all. )

And we're not the only ones wondering the definition, not even on City-Data. Here's a fun read, a thread from a couple years ago on Austin board where they're wondering about the definition of a sunny day instead of a cloudy one, using the same NOAA stats: Does Austin really get 300 days of sunshine? You'll notice that there, like here (despite what has been said), nobody actually questions the stats. They question the idea that the stats can tell you all you need to know about what it's like and wonder how a day comes to be placed into one stat or another.

When I dig up the answer to this (I assume I will find it eventually) we'll know a little more about how these numbers are generated and whether or not that can create certain false ideas.
 
Old 01-08-2011, 11:52 PM
 
Location: Pittsburgh area
9,886 posts, read 9,928,549 times
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Ah, here we go:

The National Weather Service did establish a criterion for determining clear, cloudy and partly cloudy days based on sky cover. Any day, with an average skycover of 30% or less was considered a clear day, while if the sky cover was 80% or more, (averaged from hourly sky condition reports between sunrise and sunset), it was considered a cloudy day. Anything in between counts as "partly cloudy".

So this is good, now we know how that chart comes about! BTW, source, with a couple of other notes that go specifically to Colorado: Colorado Climate Center - Questions and Answers

And yeah, Pittsburgh, not a ton of 30% or less cloud cover days. 59. That makes sense to me. The 200+ 80%+ days, though, must have a number of sunshine hours in there. Let's see, so if we take as an example a shorter day with 10 hours of daylight, you could easily get a couple hours of 30% cover (clear) averaged with some heavier and then full cover hours that would still come out to 80%. And in a longer summer day, you might get 3 hours or so of clear and still come out 80%. The person at the link clearly thought those proclaiming "300 sunny days" were being misleading, and I don't disagree with that. But nobody's trying to proclaim even 200 sunny days in Pittsburgh here. A few folks just want others to know that when looking at the stats even the 200 cloudy days do not mean 200 sun-free days. Entirely true.

Perhaps that part in bold at the top of this post will finally put to rest the question of why people might question how those stats are tallied. Now we know.
 
Old 01-08-2011, 11:55 PM
Status: "Fall is almost over!" (set 18 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
69,637 posts, read 59,710,798 times
Reputation: 19962
Good find.
 
Old 01-09-2011, 12:21 AM
 
Location: Under Mount Doom
9,144 posts, read 5,972,454 times
Reputation: 4673
Appreciate the scholarship and thought Greg42.

Interesting! Although I have been defending NWS, I do not dispute that even categorically cloudy days might have some sun. And if it is a high cloud cover, it might not be at all oppressive.

As an aside, I seem to hear the 300 days of sunshine thing quite a bit, and it comes almost completely from the real estate industry. I am sure that the sun shines for a few minutes on 300 days in many places, but few have 300 days of abundant sun. At the other end of the scale, I suspect that Pittsburgh gets more than 58 days of sun per year.
 
Old 01-09-2011, 12:31 AM
Status: "Fall is almost over!" (set 18 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
69,637 posts, read 59,710,798 times
Reputation: 19962
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fiddlehead View Post
Appreciate the scholarship and thought Greg42.

Interesting! Although I have been defending NWS, I do not dispute that even categorically cloudy days might have some sun. And if it is a high cloud cover, it might not be at all oppressive.

As an aside, I seem to hear the 300 days of sunshine thing quite a bit, and it comes almost completely from the real estate industry. I am sure that the sun shines for a few minutes on 300 days in many places, but few have 300 days of abundant sun. At the other end of the scale, I suspect that Pittsburgh gets more than 58 days of sun per year.
That was never in dispute! It's 59 clear days, 103 partly cloudy days and 203 cloudy days.
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