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.

All these ideas focus on practicing observation skills. You will be able to practice making observations, ask questions about what you observe and look for patterns. You might even notice patterns that are related to data quality. For GLOBE clouds, good data quality means that the data submitted accurately describes the sky conditions at the time. If you notice something in the GLOBE data that seems different from what you see in the pictures, keep track of it. This can help identify common types of errors, opportunities to improve training, or potential improvements to satellite algorithms among other things.

 

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.

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

Image of Obscured Sky vs Overcast 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). 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.

 

GLOBE resources for projects.

Other NASA Resources for use in Science Projects