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Partly Cloudy vs. Partly Sunny — What's the Difference?

By Tayyaba Rehman — Published on January 7, 2024
Partly cloudy refers to a condition where clouds cover a significant part of the sky, but there are breaks of sun, while partly sunny generally means more sun than clouds.
Partly Cloudy vs. Partly Sunny — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Partly Cloudy and Partly Sunny


Key Differences

"Partly cloudy" and "partly sunny" are meteorological terms used to describe the amount of cloud cover in the sky. Partly cloudy is often used to indicate that clouds cover a significant portion of the sky, but there are still noticeable breaks allowing sunlight to come through. Partly sunny, on the other hand, implies that the sun is shining for a considerable portion of the time, with clouds intermittently covering it.
The term "partly cloudy" is more commonly used during the evening and night hours when the sun is not visible, whereas "partly sunny" is typically used during daylight hours. This distinction is based on the presence of sunlight and how it interacts with the cloud cover.
In terms of cloud coverage, both terms suggest a mix of sun and clouds, but "partly sunny" tends to indicate a brighter, sunnier day with more extended periods of sunshine, while "partly cloudy" suggests a greater presence of clouds.
Both terms can be subjective and may vary depending on the meteorological service or the observer's interpretation. However, they both indicate a day where neither clear skies nor overcast conditions prevail, offering a mixture of sun and clouds.
These terms do not necessarily predict precipitation, but they suggest variable weather conditions that could change throughout the day. Both "partly cloudy" and "partly sunny" conditions can be associated with unpredictable weather patterns.

Comparison Chart

General Meaning

Significant cloud cover with breaks of sun
More sun than clouds

Common Usage

Evening and night

Implication of Sun

Less dominant sun presence
More dominant sun presence

Cloud Coverage

More clouds than sun
More sun than clouds

Weather Predictability

Variable, with a tendency towards cloudiness
Variable, with a tendency towards sunniness

Compare with Definitions

Partly Cloudy

Cloudy intervals
Tonight will be partly cloudy with clear intervals.

Partly Sunny

Predominantly sunny
The forecast says it will be partly sunny today.

Partly Cloudy

More clouds than sun
It's a partly cloudy day, with more clouds than sun.

Partly Sunny

Mostly clear sky
Tomorrow's weather is expected to be partly sunny.

Partly Cloudy

Variable sky
The sky is partly cloudy, changing throughout the day.

Partly Sunny

Intermittent clouds
We'll see a partly sunny sky with some cloud cover.

Partly Cloudy

Breaks in clouds
We can expect some sunshine in the partly cloudy sky.

Partly Sunny

More sun than clouds
Expect a bright day with it being partly sunny.

Partly Cloudy

Mixed cloud cover
The forecast predicts a partly cloudy evening.

Partly Sunny

Sunny periods
The day will be partly sunny with occasional clouds.

Common Curiosities

Can it rain during partly sunny conditions?

Yes, rain is possible if clouds are present.

Can partly cloudy skies clear up?

Yes, cloud cover can decrease throughout the day.

Does partly cloudy mean cold weather?

Not necessarily; it depends on other weather factors.

Does partly cloudy mean more clouds at night?

Yes, it often implies more clouds during evening and night.

Is partly sunny typical for summer days?

Yes, it's common in summer weather patterns.

Do partly sunny days indicate stable weather?

The weather can still change, so it's somewhat variable.

Is partly sunny weather common in spring?

Yes, it's typical in spring's variable weather.

Is UV exposure high during partly sunny days?

UV rays can still be strong, so protection is advised.

Is partly cloudy weather good for outdoor activities?

Yes, but keep an eye out for changing conditions.

Are partly cloudy and partly sunny the same?

They're similar but differ in sun and cloud dominance.

Is photography good in partly cloudy conditions?

Yes, the diffused light can be ideal for photography.

Does partly cloudy affect temperature?

Cloud cover can influence temperature slightly.

Can partly sunny conditions lead to sunburn?

Yes, sun exposure can still cause sunburn.

Is it possible to have a partly sunny night?

No, partly sunny is used only for daylight hours.

Can I see stars on a partly cloudy night?

Yes, during breaks in the clouds.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Tayyaba Rehman
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.

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