Think of the cloudiest place you know. Is it Seattle? Or Buffalo? Or Portland, Oregon? It may be your neighborhood.
There are different ways to measure cloudiness, but looking at the really cloudy days gives an idea of often we are truly gloomy. In Cincinnati, we’ve had 41 days with an average daily cloud cover of 90% so far in 2021, 49 days with an average daily cloud cover of 100%, and 90 days with a 90%+ cloud cover :
We’ll focus on these numbers here, but – as an aside – is this year cloudier than most? The daily average cloud cover so far in 2021 is 61%, but this is not as cloudy as 2017, 2018, 2019, or 2020 year-to-date:
But lets go back to the thought of 90%+ and 100% cloud cover days. Are we cloudier than other long-term climate sites near Cincinnati? For comparison, Cincinnati has had 90 and 49 days of each, respectively, so far this year. Dayton has had 87 90%+ and 49 100% cloud cover days so far in 2021:
Columbus, Ohio has had even fewer of those days (87 90%+ and 42 100% cloud cover days):
The counts for Indianapolis are even lower (76 90%+ and 43 100% cloud cover days):
It’s clear we’re in a local maximum for cloud cover, and I intentionally highlighted areas to the north that are closer to the Great Lakes and in colder air…suggesting the possibility for cloud cover, especially in the colder months of the year.
So maybe if we go north and away and far away from Florida, it’ll get cloudier than Cincinnati, right? Chicago’s 90%+ and 100% cloud cover day count is 40 and 40, respectively:
Maybe it’s cloudier in the tundra of Minneapolis?
Counts are even lower there compared to Cincinnati! Maybe downwind of Lake Michigan? Nope. There have only been 36% completely overcast days in Grand Rapids, Michigan so far in 2021:
Alright…clearly Cincinnati is a cloudy place. But what about the Pacific Northwest? It’s known for its gloom, right? Portland, Oregon has had 29 completely overcast days so far this year, and 78 days with 90%+ cloud cover:
Maybe Seattle is cloudier? While Seattle has had more 90%+ cloud cover days than Cincinnati, Cincinnati has had 11 more 100% overcast days than Seattle year-to-date:
So…where is it cloudier? There are cloudier places! Three cities in the United States that are cloudier than Cincinnati are…Rochester, New York:
…Pittsburgh, PA (with 101 90%+ cloud cover days so far in 2021):
…and Detroit, Michigan (with 107 90%+ cloud cover and 56 100% cloud cover days year-to-date):
So I suppose it could be worse, right, Cincinnati? We are – by some accounts – cloudier than Seattle, but there are at least a few places gloomier than the Queen City.