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Old 04-26-2011, 07:01 PM
 
85 posts, read 230,052 times
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I like this - it goes into great detail explaining the whole sunshine thing -

But the fact is, here in Colorado and much of the Rocky Mountain region, there are relatively few totally clear days but a whole lot of days when the sun peeks out at least a little. Therefore, we tend to brag about our sunshine -- but mislead folks along the way

as well as a host of other interesting questions about the climate, including wind, etc...

Colorado Climate Center - Questions and Answers
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Old 05-03-2011, 04:18 PM
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
90,377 posts, read 109,220,097 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by movingin2new View Post
I like this - it goes into great detail explaining the whole sunshine thing -

But the fact is, here in Colorado and much of the Rocky Mountain region, there are relatively few totally clear days but a whole lot of days when the sun peeks out at least a little. Therefore, we tend to brag about our sunshine -- but mislead folks along the way

as well as a host of other interesting questions about the climate, including wind, etc...

Colorado Climate Center - Questions and Answers
Not sure I agree with that statement. Denver has 115 sunny days (clear days) a year, and 130 partly cloudy/sunny days. That is way more than most cities.

Weather Today - Weather Forecasts, Radar, Maps for 1000s of US and World Cities

Weather Today - Weather Forecasts, Radar, Maps for 1000s of US and World Cities

Don't know what they mean by "relatively few".
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Old 05-04-2011, 10:34 AM
 
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Default La Nina?

This is really interesting! Since moving here I'd noticed there didn't seem to be as much lightning...

http://www.crh.noaa.gov/images/bou/s..._july_2011.pdf

I like the 50-50 chance. Maybe it will - maybe it won't. How'd you like to do this for a living? A job where you couldn't get better than 50-50 on your guess?
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Old 05-04-2011, 07:47 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
Not sure I agree with that statement. Denver has 115 sunny days (clear days) a year, and 130 partly cloudy/sunny days. That is way more than most cities.

Weather Today - Weather Forecasts, Radar, Maps for 1000s of US and World Cities

Weather Today - Weather Forecasts, Radar, Maps for 1000s of US and World Cities

Don't know what they mean by "relatively few".
Cities east of the Mississippi maybe but not west or south. It's a lot more cloudy than natives may realize. Especially if they have nothing to compare it to.

It's relative...



The data has been studied over a period of 10 years. It's a Colorado college (in Fort Collins no less) that released the results and they are saying that Colorado does not get 300 days of sun a year and that to say so is misleading.

Last edited by movingin2new; 05-04-2011 at 08:16 PM..
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Old 05-04-2011, 11:12 PM
 
Location: Northern CO
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I moved from Lander, WY and so far, I've been surprised how little sun there is here, comparatively. I wouldn't say it's been mostly cloudy, but it's not as sunny as the '300 days of sunshine' statement leads you to believe. It's pretty cloudy/hazy compared to Lander. I kind of like it. After awhile, the sunny all day, every day gets a little old and you start taking it for granted.
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Old 05-05-2011, 03:03 AM
 
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I was considering different factors that could go into the perception of sunshine. One is winter. When many parts of the country are experiencing heavy cloud cover, including "sunny California" as it rains in the winter, Colorado is often sunny. People aren't necessarily in the sun but if you look out the window - even though it's freezing, the sun may be shining.

Secondly, the weather here is incredibly volatile. It could be sunny and clear in the early morning (say, from sunrise until 10am) and then clouds roll in til - say 4pm, but then the sun pops back out.

Does that make it a sunny day? Well, if you work indoors, you leave to work and it's sunny. You come home from work and it's sunny. It's possible you didn't even notice that several hours in the day were not sunny - because you were in an office.

Third. The statement released after the study was that the only way the 300 days of sun would be true is if you counted 1 hour a day of sun as a sunny day. Okay, so 300 days of sun is pushing it.

What about the converse? I know they defined a sunny day as 30% or less cloud cover...but for how long? How many hours in a day does the sun have to shine before it's considered a sunny day?

That kind of points back to the volatility of the weather. It changes almost hourly here - especially at this time of the year (spring).

If the sun was out for 5 hours straight - but cloudy before and after - was that a sunny day or not? If it was sunny from sunrise until 1 but then cloudy, or partly cloudy...was that a sunny day? If the clouds are there in the morning but the sun shows up at two and stays until sunset... is that a sunny day?

Another piece of the sunshine perception would be summer - or at least late spring. There are frequent thunderstorms here on the Front Range in the summer. That means clouds. Not much sun. Sometimes these thunderstorms will roll in every single day for several days in a row.

You wake up to a sunny day but by the afternoon (as evidenced in that slide in the presentation as well) the clouds are here and it rains or hails.

I remember last summer asking a neighbor (native) if this was normal and she said 'When it isn't a drought year, yes. The thunderstorms will roll in in the afternoons."

She didn't seem to think it a big deal but I was pretty disappointed. Every day it was cloudy and rainy? For over a week straight? Sun for only a few hours in the day?

The other poster mentioned haze. I also thought about that. It would affect the perception of sun. I know it does in place like Houston, Los Angeles, and Phoenix, all quite sunny. They have high pollution scenarios to deal with and that affects the "sunny day."

I wondered if Colorado also had that going on.
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Old 05-05-2011, 09:12 AM
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
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Quote:
Originally Posted by movingin2new View Post
Cities east of the Mississippi maybe but not west or south. It's a lot more cloudy than natives may realize. Especially if they have nothing to compare it to.

It's relative...



The data has been studied over a period of 10 years. It's a Colorado college (in Fort Collins no less) that released the results and they are saying that Colorado does not get 300 days of sun a year and that to say so is misleading.
I am not a Colorado native and I have much to compare with. I grew up in Pittsburgh and lived for a number of years in Champaign, IL before we moved here.

Ten years is nothing as far as weather data goes. Here is another website from the NWS, you will notice some cities have >100 years of data. A few have less than 10 years, but most are well into the double digits.

http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/...pctposrank.txt

This is percent of available sunshine a city receives.

Definitions of what is a "sunny day" take place on the Pittsburgh forum as well. It's a cloudy city and people are always trying to say it's not.
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Old 05-05-2011, 01:31 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post

Definitions of what is a "sunny day" take place on the Pittsburgh forum as well. It's a cloudy city and people are always trying to say it's not.
You know, I think the only people I've met who know how to poke fun at themselves and be real are those from Detroit. They don't try and tell people it's a great place, lots of sun, great opportunities, etc. They know what they are and they are really, truly, able to laugh at themselves for it. I think that's what makes those folks (and the ones in the metro area around it) so resiliant!

I also have a lot to compare this to, having lived around the country (Los Angeles, San Francisco, East Bay, CA (which is WAY different than SF), South Bay, CA (Silicon Valley), Detroit, Washington DC, Tampa, New Orleans, and Los Angeles. I also spent time in Shadyside, PA (Pittsburgh) while doing a grad course at Carnegie. I am a native Detroiter - born there.

My surprise after moving here was related specifically to the 300 days of sunshine claim. I had noticed other posters on this website had questioned it too, which led me to do some research.

I know that statistics (percentages are statistical data) can be massaged to reflect whatever end point you are trying to make. A percentage isn't necessarily a good indicator for any point in time.

For the previous 100 years it may be one way but past performance is no indication of future performance.

The volatility here also influences it. If two years in a row it's one way and then the next year, it's different, what does that really mean?

I know in fractal theory, the claim is that due to the laws of entropy, it's impossible to predict the weather outside the idea that it will be warmer in the summer than in the winter.

I also discovered (quite recently) an interesting phenomenon here. Larimer county is not only quite large, it covers a variety of terrains that differ significantly. So, if you live at the foothills, your weather could easily be different than what you are experiencing if you live on the border of Weld County.

I know that in San Francisco, you can have micro climates where on one side of the street it's windy and cold but on the opposite side, not so bad and 5 - 15 degrees warmer!

Larimer County seems to have these micro climates as well. We drove out the other day and when we left home it was super cloudy. However, once we got up into the mountains, it was beautiful and sunny. We got home to find it still cloudy!

Clouds was another parameter I considered. There are different types of clouds and to me, the worst ones are the thick, low, menacing clouds that can totally block out the sun.

I know the study talked of cloud cover in percentages, but what about the type of clouds? I don't think it's a big deal to have big fluffy white clouds at higher elevation, moving through with a nice breeze. The sun has plenty of opportunity to poke through and the overall atmsophere is nice and bright.

The more I thought about it, the more I realized that there are so many variables in the perception of what is a sunny day, it's difficult to put a stake in the ground for it.

However, as a transplant who has lived around the country, I can attest that this area is much cloudier than the natives claim and I have yet to see anything close to 300 days of sunshine a year.

I like that it's sunnier in the winter than most parts of the country but I find other parts of the year - not so much.

I do like how Katiana pointed out that the Pittsburgh folks aren't owning up to a component of their city...since it's something I've noticed here too.

I guess some people will think their city is the best place on earth no matter what.
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Old 05-05-2011, 01:47 PM
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
90,377 posts, read 109,220,097 times
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Speaking of these microclimates, we've seen it snowing/raining in the back yard but not the front! My neighbor and I have noticed the difference in size between my peonies, facing south, and hers that face west.
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Old 05-05-2011, 07:53 PM
 
85 posts, read 230,052 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
Speaking of these microclimates, we've seen it snowing/raining in the back yard but not the front! My neighbor and I have noticed the difference in size between my peonies, facing south, and hers that face west.
Wow! I wonder why that is?

I know in Florida, it used to rain on one side of the road but not the other. I was 13 and thought it hilarious!

That is fascinating about the ponies...wow...
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