Wednesday, December 18, 2013

I Was Wondering...Partly Sunny vs. Partly Cloudy

What's the difference between 
partly sunny and partly cloudy?

I wonder how the haze from forest fires figures into the partly sunny and partly cloudy usage? (Sandia Mts., NM)
We're checking a lot on the weather these days trying to see if snow or ice is coming. That way we can plan our activities for the best weather conditions possible. Checking all of these forecasts has reminded me of something I've always wondered about. What is the difference between partly sunny and partly cloudy? Here's what I found out.

As you might assume, there really is no difference. They mean the same thing--a mixture of sun and clouds in the sky. But the issue gets confused in everyday use because, unfortunately, every meteorologist has their own way of using these terms. Some say partly sunny only during the daytime because the sun is not out at night, where as partly cloudy is used during the day or night. Sometimes partly sunny is used when there is more sun expected than clouds and vice-versa for partly cloudy. Also, the two terms can be used to infer changes in the weather. When cloudy weather is improving, they will say partly sunny because the meteorologist wants to be optimistic. When the weather will be deteriorating, they will predict party cloudy to let you know the weather will be changing for the worse. There you have it, partly clear. :)

 I think I am just going to go with the working definition I used before I researched this. Partly sunny and partly cloudy both mean that there will some clouds in the sky with more or less sun peaking out.

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