Student Project Support

 

Student Project Support

The purpose of this page is to outline some project approaches that focus on the use of existing GLOBE cloud data.The ideas outlined here can be done without making your own cloud observations outside. Cloud observations should only be made if it is safe and observers can follow local safety guidelines. Remember that ideas are not limited to those presented here.

Contact the NASA GLOBE Clouds Team if you have questions.

You can use the satellite matches associated with cloud observations to investigate the conditions at the time of an observation. Investigate similarities and differences between the observer’s perspective and the satellite perspective. Many observations from North America include GOES satellite matches.

1). Cloud Observations

Image GLOBE Cloud Chart

Learn about clouds by using cloud photos previously submitted to GLOBE. Make your own cloud observations by viewing the photos. Record your observations on the data collection sheet or in a journal. Do not submit these observations to GLOBE.

What can you do with these observations?

  • Ask questions about what you observe.
  • Look for patterns.
  • Look for corresponding weather events such as precipitation.
  • Compare your observations with what was submitted to see if they are the same.

If you want to go beyond making observations from photos, try one of the ideas below.

Contrail types, short-lived, persistent and persistent spreading.

2). Contrail Identification

Use photos from observations that identified at least one contrail. Examine the photos to determine if you can see the contrails.

What can you do with these observations?

  • Compare your observations with what was submitted to see if they are the same.
    • Ask questions about what you observe.
    • Look for patterns.
    • Keep a log of differences for your project.
    • Make recommendations on how to improve contrail observations or data quality.
    • Remember that non-persistent contrails may have dissipated before the original observer took photos.
  • Take it further:
    • Use Flight Radar 24 to find corresponding flight data to see if you can find a correlation between contrail formation and flight activity.
    • Look for flight paths in the vicinity of the observation.

3). Obscured vs. Overcast

Difference between overcast and obscured. Overcast is 100% clouds, obscured is something blocking the view of the sky.

Use photos from observations that identified either obscured or overcast conditions. These categories are often confused. Examine the photos to determine if the observer was correct.

What can you do with these observations?

  • Compare your observations with what was submitted to see if they are the same.
    • Keep a log of differences for your project.
    • Practice making observations from the photos.
    • Ask questions about what you observe.
    • Look for patterns.
    • Make recommendations on how to improve identification of overcast and obscured conditions.

Take it further:

4. Air Quality

Use photos from observations that identified obscured conditions. Look for those that indicate either volcanic eruptions, haze, dust or smoke. You can find this if the word true is next to the category. Examine the photos to determine if you can see the obscuration.

What can you do with these observations?

  • Compare your observations with what was submitted to see if they are the same.
    • Sort observations by type of obscuration and look for similarities and differences in the photos to make a claim about the type of obscuration.
      (A claim is a statement or conclusion that answers the original question/problem.)
    • Keep a log of differences for your project.
    • Practice making observations from the photos.
    • Ask questions about what you observe.
    • Look for patterns.
    • Integrate data from other sources such as Aerosol Watch and NASA’s WorldView to tell a story about the data.

5). Satellite Matches

Use photos from observations with satellite matches. Examine the photos and the satellite match table to identify and classify differences.

What can you do with these observations?

  • Use the satellite matches to look for patterns that may identify:
    • Observer errors based on photos submitted
      • Remember observations are based on a category for percent cloud cover and satellites determine a more precise amount.
    • Look for:
      • Clouds that observers can see that a satellite may not detect.
      • Clouds that the satellite detects that observers may not see.
      • Patterns by altitude, cloud type, satellite, etc.

* For help creating your own GLOBE data files for these projects, please see the tutorial for creating contrail, overcast and obscured skies and smoke observations files.

6). GOES Resources

GOES satellite images. June 11, 2018. Image source NASA

To help with GOES investigations, a file of GLOBE Cloud Observations with corresponding GOES data from September 8 – 16, 2020 is available (Google Sheets version of GOES data from September 8-16, 2020). These observations include photos and GOES 16/17 satellite matches for two channels (visible and infrared). This GLOBE Visualization recording shows a visualization of the GLOBE observations with Terra satellite data for the same time period.

Project ideas 2, 4 and 5 on this page are best suited for GOES investigations. In addition to these ideas, investigations might include using the visible and infrared images within the satellite matches to look for patterns that may identify:

  • Multiple cloud types leading to a weather event
  • Smoke or dust layers from significant events
  • Look for:
    • How do clouds appear differently in the visible compared to the infrared view?
    • How do smoke or dust plumes observed in the visible and infrared images compare? How do these events look similar or different than clouds?
    • What patterns do you notice by altitude, cloud type, etc?

Tutorial

GLOBE resources for projects.

Other NASA Resources for use in Science Projects