NASA GLOBE Clouds Protocol

NASA GLOBE Clouds: How You Can Help


Your cloud observations are an important part of the Earth system puzzle NASA is actively building. Clouds can change rapidly, and different types of clouds have different effects on local climates. While lower, cumulus clouds tend to have a cooling effect on the Earth, cirrus clouds higher in the atmosphere warm the planet by reflecting more outgoing radiation back towards the ground.


It's tricky to capture the extent of these interactions with satellites alone. That's why it's so crucial for researchers to have ground truth data gathered from the Earth's surface. That makes your observations very important because they provide scientists with a fuller perspective on how cloud cover affects our climate. Additionally, when you submit frequent measurements over time, your data provides NASA with greater detail on how our climate is changing.

After you submit your observations, the NASA GLOBE Clouds team at NASA Langley Research Center compares your measurements with satellite data to determine key areas for further investigation. The results of these investigations are then sent to you via email. This entire process allows more people to contribute to authentic scientific research and engage in active NASA missions.

Learn more about how to participate in the NASA GLOBE Cloud Protocol.

How Clouds Affect Our World



While the satellites deployed by NASA and worldwide space agencies give us a big picture of climatic cloud effects, they struggle at times to provide a detailed analysis of what's happening in specific locations. For example, it can be challenging to determine how cloud cover is affecting local weather patterns, or whether a particular area is receiving more or less precipitation over time. To better understand how particular clouds interact with solar radiation, check out our infographic below. 

For a more comprehensive explanation on cloud climate science, check out the NASA CERES brochure

Earth Radiation Budget Image


Additional Resources

NOW AVAILABLE! Have you wondered what happens to your sky photographs? The NASA GLOBE CLOUD GAZE, a partnership between NASA GLOBE Clouds and the Zooniverse online platform, gives you the opportunity to identify cloud types, cloud cover and other phenomena captured in GLOBE cloud photographs of the sky! The resulting detailed information, or metadata, will make it easier for NASA scientists to use the NASA GLOBE Clouds data in multiple ways.