Volume 96 (2018) Issue 2 Pages 201-214
Cloud fractions were observed during research cruises onboard the research vessel (R/V) Shirase between Japan and Antarctica using a whole-sky camera and a ceilometer. The cruises, Japanese Antarctic Research Expeditions (JARE) 55 and 56, took place from November 2013 to April 2014 and from November 2014 to April 2015, respectively. Cloud fractions were estimated from the whole-sky camera based on the sky brightness and spectral characteristics, and the ceilometer recorded the cloud occurrence frequency. According to the comparison of daily-averaged cloud fractions from the whole-sky camera with the ceilometer observations over the open ocean between Japan and Antarctica, the correlation coefficients were 0.87 and 0.93 for JARE 55 and 56, respectively. Overall, the results from both observation methods were consistent over the open ocean. Nevertheless, it was necessary to take surface conditions into consideration, particularly for the estimated cloud fractions from the whole-sky camera, because the contrast in brightness and spectral properties between cloudy and clear skies was lower over the sea ice region, owing to the higher surface albedo. Hence, the classification parameter was expressed as a function of sun elevation over the sea ice region in this study. This parameter was determined from part of the data over the sea ice region during JARE 55 and then applied to JARE 56 as well as to the remaining data from JARE 55. As a result, the daily-averaged cloud fractions over the sea ice region were approximately 84 % and 57 % from JARE 55 and 56, respectively. The daily-averaged cloud fractions estimated from the whole-sky camera were also consistent with the ceilometer observations, where the correlation coefficients with the sea ice region were 0.93 and 0.96 for JARE 55 and 56, respectively.