Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Partly Cloudy and Mostly Sunny

Partly Cloudy vs Mostly Sunny

Most career men and women make it a habit to check the news while having breakfast every morning. Those engaged in businesses tune in to the morning news programs of local channels to monitor the movement of the economy – prices of stocks and monetary exchange rates are observed. Employees taking the bus or the subway, on the other hand, check for traffic conditions on the street they are about to pass by. Some get interested with political and national issues while some turn on the television merely for entertainment while being at the breakfast table.

Whatever the reason for tuning in, nonetheless, these career people, students, and regular viewers alike can have one common denominator – they are all interested to know the weather condition of the day, especially when a low pressure area is detected or whenever a storm is about to enter a country’s area of responsibility.

Viewers may encounter terminologies such as “wind strength, storm signal, direction of winds, and speed of the storm’s movement.” On regular days, nonetheless, weather forecasters may simply drop terms as “partly cloudy” or “mostly sunny” after delivering the temperature ranges of cities in a certain county or region. One then stops and thinks, “Isn’t ‘partly cloudy’ and ‘mostly sunny’ the same?”
The answer is no.

Most weather forecasters follow a scale as follows:

Mostly sunny
Partly cloudy
Partly sunny
Mostly cloudy

The difference is drawn by the amount of precipitation observed in a particular day: the more precipitation, the higher humidity, the higher chances for cloudy skies.
“Mostly sunny” and “partly cloudy” being too close to each other become confusing for most people. “Mostly sunny” simply means longer periods of sunshine than shady skies, while “partly cloudy” generally means an equal amount of clouds and sun. It could be that on a mostly sunny morning, the skies can be cloudless. On the other hand, a partly cloudy day may mean that the day would still be warm as there is only a small amount of clouds in the sky.
There are several accounts, however, that state that “mostly sunny” and “partly cloudy” weather conditions are essentially the same. In fact, some meteorologists published a paper giving support to this claim. According to their studies, both conditions cover an average amount of opaque clouds that may range from 45 to 75 per cent.
The only difference is that “partly cloudy” is used when giving a weather forecast at a time closer to dusk, while “mostly sunny” is given when the reports are announced during sunrise. Indeed, saying “mostly sunny” at a time of the day close to nighttime would be awkward to both the viewers and the weather reporters.

Theorists of communication and viewer research also agree to this system of weather forecasts. They have made it a point to prove that announcing a “mostly sunny” morning would sound more cheerful to viewers of morning news programs. This would then give them the vigor and positivity as they tune in while enjoying at the breakfast table. As obvious and a no-brainer as it may sound, simply saying “mostly sunny” instead of “partly cloudy” is found to make the audiences more cheerful during sunrise.

In line with this, there was actually a paper presented at the American Meteorological Society which suggests that weather forecasters and announcers stick to saying “partly cloudy” regardless of the time of airing to avoid confusion.
Logically, it followed that television stations and broadcasters showed a howl of protest. Using “mostly sunny” would be more appropriate as it attracts more optimism from viewers and rouses positive moods especially during weekend forecasts.


1.“Mostly sunny” is a term used by newscasters in announcing weather conditions during mornings, and “partly cloudy” is used by evening programs.
2.“Mostly sunny” and “partly cloudy” have the same amount of percentage of opaque clouds.
3.The difference between the two can be drawn from observing precipitation: higher humidity gives partly cloudy weather conditions.

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