Adam Wilson

Distribution of global cloud seasonality and concentration and its relation to ecosystems and biodiversity

An image taken in the South African Cape Floristic Region. A variety of plant life can be seen.

A. Wilson

Cloud cover affects many important ecological processes, including reproduction, growth, survival, and behavior. When quantified globally at high spatial resolution, cloud cover dynamics can provide key information for delineating a variety of habitat types and predicting species distributions. In this study, we develop a new near-global, fine-grain dataset of monthly cloud frequencies from 15y of twice-daily satellite images. The new data reveal cloud cover dynamics at unprecedented spatial resolution. We show that the direct, observation-based nature of cloud-derived metrics can improve predictions of habitats, ecosystem, and species distributions with reduced spatial autocorrelation compared to commonly used interpolated climate data.