September/October/November 2020


Cloud Challenge Resources Available

2020 Community Cloud Challenge imageThanks to our cloud community, the 2020 Community Cloud Challenge was a great success showing how Science is Better Together! We received some great photos and artwork from participants, some of which were highlighted in the thank you video.

If you missed the challenge or want to keep working on it, visit the GLOBE Clouds Family Guide page for the resources. You will find videos about the Science of Clouds and the Family Cloud Challenge page with a Choice Chart for activities which are described on the page and include videos of selected activities.


Your Observations in the Scientific Community

Two new publications are now available in the scientific community showcasing your observations of clouds and sky. The publication titled “Clouds Around the World, How a Simple Citizen Science Data Challenge Became a Worldwide Success” describes the success and unique observations collected during the very first challenge, the 2018 Spring Cloud Challenge. Also available is the publication titled “GLOBE Observer Data: 2016–2019” describes all the observations submitted using the GLOBE Observer app since 2016!


Cloud Observation Tip: Satellite Flyover Times

Image of satellites and cloud observers

Question: What is a satellite flyover?

Answer: A satellite flyover or satellite overpass is when a satellite, like Aqua, Terra, and CALIPSO will be over your location at a specific date and time. You can use the Overpass Tool or GLOBE Observer to find these times in order to plan your cloud observations and increase your chances of getting a satellite match.

So, what is a satellite match? A satellite match is when your observations of clouds and sky were taken at the same time as a satellite flyover. If it is safe to go outside (follow your local guidelines), you can take observations anytime within 15 minutes before or after the satellite flyover time for either Terra, Aqua or CALIPSO. For example, if the flyover time is 12:40 PM, then go outside to take your observations between 12:25 PM and 12:55 PM. Finally, submit your cloud observation and if you can, be sure to include sky photographs! The NASA GLOBE Clouds team will then receive your observations and match them to any available satellite data.

The team also matches cloud and sky observations to geostationary satellites. Since these satellites are observing the same spot on the Earth every day all day long, you may receive a match to these satellites (GOES-16, GOES-17, Himawari, and Meteosat) no matter when you go and take a cloud observation. Learn more about geostationary satellites with NASA scientist Kristopher Bedka.

If your observation of clouds and sky is matched to corresponding satellite data, you will receive a NASA personalized email with your satellite match table. This may take several days. This video guide on satellite matching can be used to see how your observations compares to satellite data. 


Science Topic: Smoke from Wildfires

Images of Smoke from Wildfires

There has recently been a lot of interest in air quality in the western part of the USA due to large amounts of smoke from wildfires. Learn more about these historic fires at NASA Earth Observatory.

Images of ash have shown up on GLOBE data as well. Of course you should only make observations when it is safe and you can follow local guidelines. When you make a cloud observation, you can indicate if the sky is obscured by something. This means you can’t make a full cloud observation because something is blocking more than 25% of the view of the sky. One of the things that can obscure the sky is smoke. Some observers have also seen smoke aloft (really high up in the sky) which did not obscure the sky. This can be indicated in the comments of an observation, like for example adding the comment to one of the photos taken while using the GLOBE Observer app. You can use the GLOBE Data Visualization tool to find observations that indicate smoke obscuring the sky. This can help you find evidence of wildfires. Watch this video to learn more about Wildfires and GLOBE Clouds.


Meet an Expert: Dr. Veshell Lewis

GLOBE Teacher: Educator at Jackson Public School District and GLOBE teacher since 2013.Photo of Dr. Veshell Lewis

Question: Where are you from?

Answer: I am a resident of Jackson, Mississippi.

Question: What do you do for fun?

Answer: For fun, I love to spend quality time with my family. We enjoy playing fun board games and having fun family cooking competitions. Furthermore, we enjoy traveling to local and distant attractions, zoos, and museums.

Question: How did you find out about GLOBE?

Answer: As a graduate student, I was introduced to the GLOBE program during a class session at the University of Southern Mississippi. I was really intrigued by the GLOBE program and how its protocols could enhance my students’ ability to actively learn science. I was determined to learn as much as possible about the program, so I attended teacher training workshops while Dr. Sherry Herron served as my mentor.

Question: Why do you use GLOBE?

Answer : For years, I have utilized GLOBE because it gives my students the opportunity to not just read about science, but to actively contribute to the field. I’ve used GLOBE for various grade levels and have witnessed students develop a deeper understanding of the scientific process, in addition to fostering an appreciation for the environment

Question: What one piece of advice would you like to give students or other teachers?

Answer: I would advise teachers to never stop challenging yourself. The more you learn, the more you can share with your students.

Join Veshell Lewis in this video as she does the Cloud Fun activity that is part of the Elementary GLOBE books series. For this activity, you will need the free Elementary GLOBE storybook Do You Know That Clouds Have Names?, paper, the GLOBE cloud chart, newspaper, white paper, glue or glue sticks, markers or pencils, and the Cloud Fun activity sheet.


Student Research Project Support

Are you interested in doing your own research project? Are you having students do research projects about clouds? We have a new collection of resources to help you even if you can’t take your own observations. Visit the Student Project Support page for a video and ideas for how to use existing GLOBE Cloud observations for further research.


Looking Ahead

We look forward to seeing some student research projects by next spring. Visit the GLOBE International Virtual Science Symposium website to learn more about student research projects through GLOBE.

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