Clouds are amazing to observe and always seem to capture the attention of all, from little ones to the young at heart. The GLOBE Clouds team would like to help all of those that would be interested in doing research with clouds. A good research question is always tricky so here are some tips and ideas to get you started!

What is a good research question?

It is not always easy to come up with a research question, but GLOBE has a good checklist to help you out! You can even assign points and see how many points does your question total as a good research question. A lot of times scientists look at the data and then form research questions based on what they see (or not see)! Find more information at GLOBE’s Characteristics of a Good Research Question.


Example research questions with GLOBE Clouds

Below are some example research questions related to clouds. Feel free to use these as research questions for your teams or as starting points. In-service and pre-service educators contributed to the list below:

  • Do different cloud types affect differently the temperature of the ground? You can change this to be how clouds affect the temperature of different parts of the school or playground like playground mulch, swings or slides. You can also state it as - do cloud shadows change the temperature of the ground?
  • How does the opacity of clouds affect surface temperature? You can substitute the surface for a particular object around the school. Learn more about cloud opacity as well as tips and tricks of making cloud observations with this brand new page - Making Cloud Observations: Tips and Tricks Using the GLOBE Observer App.
  • Do different parts of the world have a cloud type that is most observed? This is an interesting question that can link to the different climate zones and to the type of land cover in those regions.
  • Do different storms affect bodies of water differently? This is a great research for students that love to do water studies. You can test alkalinity, dissolved oxygen or even pH or collected water or nearby bodies of water.


The GLOBE Clouds team would like to hear from teams that would like to submit a research question related to clouds to a GLOBE U.S. Regional Student Research Symposia, GLOBE’s International Virtual Science Symposium, or local events. Let us know how we can help and contact the NASA Science Team.





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