NASA GLOBE Clouds Quarterly Update

December/January/February 2023-2024


Coming Soon: Cloud Challenge 2024

The team is excited to announce that in 2024 we will have a Cloud Challenge focused on how clouds change throughout the day. Stay tuned to dates and ways to participate on the GLOBE Observer website.


First Long-Duration Lidar Satellite Mission CALIPSO Ends

a spacecraft high above the clouds with a green laser shooting through the skies and into the depths of the water.CALIPSO (Cloud-Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observations), a lidar satellite that advanced the world’s understanding of climate, weather, and air quality, ended its scientific mission on August 1, 2023 after 17 years of operation. CALIPSO was launched jointly by NASA and the France’s Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales/CNES on April 28, 2006 as the first lidar capable of operating in space. Learn more about CALIPSO, including watching a special video from NASA Earth Science Division's Director Karen St. Germain, in this end of mission celebration recap.


Spotlight on the October 2023 Annular Eclipse

graphed data from Albuquerque New Mexico collected in the GLOBE Eclipse tool in the app showing how air temperature and clouds decreased during the annular eclipse.Thank you to everyone who participated in data collection during the annular solar eclipse on 14 October 2023! The GLOBE Clouds team received over 2100 cloud observations from North, South, and Central America. Our team is working on a detailed analysis of the data collected from the recent annular eclipse. Investigating how clouds and air temperature in different climate regions are affected by the eclipse. The GLOBE Eclipse news story includes highlights and images from volunteer scientists and team members. Our analysis will continue with data from the upcoming total solar eclipse on 8 April 2024 and we invite you to collect cloud and air temperature observations during the next astronomical event.


GLOBE Clouds by the Numbers

The GLOBE Clouds Team would like to share some exciting numbers! Thank you to the amazing GLOBE community. Repeat observations are necessary to understand changes in our atmosphere:


Sky Photographs

Cloud Observations

Satellite Matches

Last Quarter
(2023-09-01 to 2023-11-31)





Graph of Total Satellite Matches Since Last Quarter 2023-09-01 to 2023-11-30. About 38,000 GEO matches, 4,000 Terra matches, and 7,000 NOAA-20 matches.


Meet the Expert: Erquinio Taborda

image of Erquinio Alberto Taborda Martínez Question: What's your name?
Answer: Erquinio Alberto Taborda Martínez.

Question: What is your work related to the GLOBE program?
Answer: I am a classroom teacher at the San Gabriel District Educational Institution in the City of Barranquilla, Colombia. I am part of the teaching staff attached to the Colombian Ministry of Education, where I develop content for the subjects of Mathematics, Physics, and Robotics using the protocols and the GLOBE methodology. The problem-solving method combined has helped me connect many students with STEM. In addition, I became a GLOBE Trainer in the spheres of Atmosphere, Biosphere, and Hydrosphere after participating in numerous trainings with GLOBE scientists and NASA engineers both virtually and face-to-face in Colombia and in the USA, which has allowed me the honor of directing courses and workshops for teachers on the different GLOBE protocols, especially those of GLOBE Clouds, which I do passionately.

Question: Where are you from?
Answer: I am originally from Barranquilla, Colombia and currently live and work in this city in the Colombian Caribbean.

Question: What inspired you to work in this field?
Answer: I studied a degree in Mathematics and Physics at the Universidad del Atlántico here in Colombia where I lived the experience of being part of a research seedbed in space sciences, getting to know many Colombian scientists and engineers who worked at NASA and that inspired me specialize in Physical sciences. When I finished my master's degree in Education, I used my experience at GLOBE to encourage my students to use GLOBE protocols. The impact of GLOBE in my students’ academic and personal development made a significant contribution in my own development as a teacher, reaffirming my vocation for teaching future generations from elementary to middle school. Using GLOBE, I found a very entertaining way to achieve my teaching goals.

Question: How did you get involved in NASA GLOBE Clouds?
Answer: I started my work with the CERES-S'COOL program of NASA Langley, in Hampton, Virginia, in 2005, where I met Dr. Lin Chambers and other collaborators. Thanks to their support, I managed to learn everything related to the cloud protocol and participate in various activities. I remember that my class was on the top 10 of cloud observers for several months and that was very exciting for my students. They were so excited that we managed to create a climate model of our city, based on years of cloud and temperature measurements, and we were fortunate enough to travel to NASA Langley in 2015 with a delegation of 15 students. Then, in 2016, I became part of the GLOBE family, and my students and I expanded our efforts by learning more protocols of the various spheres and by actively participating in the different IVSS and annual GLOBE meetings. I also became a GLOBE Trainer and started leading different workshops for teachers.

Question: What is your favorite part about making cloud observations?
Answer:I really enjoy taking the boys and girls to the parks to make records of types of clouds, see their faces of amazement and curiosity when they become expert cloud Erquinio and three of his students, outdoors. observers. My students even try to predict the weather when they already have some experience. Watching them discuss their results is wonderful and is the favorite part of this GLOBE protocol. I also enjoy the workshops for teachers where I participate as a Trainer where I can inspire many colleagues to use the different protocols in their school curricula and in their classes.

Question: What advice would you like to give to the next generation of observers?
Answer: To fight for their dreams. I would also tell them the protocols of the GLOBE program are very efficient and can allow them to contribute to the development of scientific knowledge. I would ask them that they never stop observing the sky and the clouds and that they continue studying to better understand the energy balance of our planet Earth and the possible anomalies that may be generated due to the climate change that affects us today.

Question: What have been some of the most creative or fun ways you've engaged your students in the GLOBE program? Yellow vehicle decorated with huge flowers, with several people pedalling.

Answer: We have always made our observations in parks and fields in the city of Barranquilla, but recently we have incorporated more innovative, happier, and healthier ways to make cloud observations, using an experimental vehicle called CicloBus or Bicibus. The vehicle consists of a metal structure where 10 children sit comfortably, and it moves while pedaling since it is made up of bicycles. This vehicle has caught a lot of attention because the boys and girls exercise while being able to use their cell phones or cloud identification cards without getting out of the vehicle. They sing at the same time, feeling the breeze of the Magdalena River or the Caribbean as we ride on the Malecón del Río in Barranquilla or on the Malecón del Mar in the neighboring municipality of Puerto Colombia.


Science Topic: Clouds on Exoplanets

We have talked about clouds on other planets in our solar system. But what about clouds even farther away? In this update, we would like to explore clouds on exoplanets. An exoplanet is a planet that orbits a star other than the Sun. Just like on Earth, clouds on exoplanets consist of liquid or solid droplets suspended in an atmosphere. However, some exoplanets orbit so close to their stars, that their temperatures reach thousands of degrees. These extreme temperatures cause solid materials to vaporize. Under those conditions, there cannot be clouds of water. Instead, there could be clouds made of rock. And with the extremely high temperatures, the rock melts. Therefore, clouds on exoplanets could be made of molten rock, liquid glass, molten iron, and gems! How would you like seeing clouds made of jewels? It may sound fantastic to be on a planet where clouds are made of rubies or sapphires. But together with the super hot temperatures responsible for melting rock, exoplanets can have other wild conditions. For example, the fastest winds on Earth are recorded in hurricanes. The speed of those winds is about 250 mph. On the other hand, winds on exoplanets can be over 5000 mph. Imagine “jewel” clouds being carried by those winds! NASA scientists are always excited to discover new things. Clouds on exoplanets are no exception. Among other things, NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope will observe the atmospheres of exoplanets. Clouds observations will be one of the best ways to understand the atmospheres of exoplanets. After all, clouds provide a great deal of information about the chemistry of the atmosphere of a planet. That is why, the NASA GLOBE Clouds team is looking for your help making observations of our own planet’s clouds too!


Would you like to receive NASA GLOBE Clouds communications in Spanish?

Our NASA GLOBE Clouds team will attempt to translate our communications to Spanish whenever possible. You can now sign up to receive NASA GLOBE Clouds communications in Spanish.