Celebrate our planet on Earth Day and beyond through NASA’s GLOBE Observer citizen science project!
GLOBE Observer cloud observations are helping NASA scientists understand clouds from below (the ground) and above (from space). Clouds play an important role in transferring energy from the Sun to different parts of the Earth system. Because clouds can change rapidly, scientists need frequent observations from citizen scientists.
Host an Earth Day event to observe clouds using the GLOBE Observer app on April 22, 2017. Participating libraries will receive a packet of Earth Day programming materials (on a first-come, first-served basis).
The GLOBE Observer app and resources are evergreen – they can be used any time of the year, not just on Earth Day. While there is extra value getting a large number of people observing clouds on one day, it is important for citizen scientists to observe regularly and beyond Earth Day.
The app tutorial provides the information you need to make a cloud observation. If you would like additional practice identifying clouds, check out the Additional Cloud Observation Resources
Reach out to NASA Subject Matter Experts to collaborate on your programs! Invite them to serve as program speakers for adult programs or help you facilitate hands-on activities and talk about science and exploration with youth. These Subject Matter Experts are STEM-focused professionals from NASA-funded centers and institutions, as well as researchers and NASA volunteers within each region that can collaborate on programs.
Online and Physical Earth Day Displays
Below are resources for creating a display – in your library and on your website – to engage patrons in Earth Day.
Engage library visitors in making their own exhibit through creating a model of the different types of clouds and the atmospheric levels at which the clouds exist. This Elementary GLOBE activity could be adapted to be completed as a large scale daily mural to which patrons can contribute or could be completed as an individual activity as part of a STEAM activity.
GLOBE Observer Clouds: Why Observe?
In this short video, NASA scientist Jessica Taylor explains the role of clouds in Earth’s climate, how NASA is studying clouds from space, and the importance of cloud observations from citizen scientists to complement NASA science.
NASA’s Earth Minute: Cloudy Forecast
“NASA’s Earth Minute” is a series of animated white-board videos for students of all ages explaining key concepts about Earth science, missions and climate change. This short video (1:23) explains how clouds are complicated when it comes to climate science, as they both warm and cool Earth. NASA is studying these atmospheric masses of condensed water vapor with satellites and aircraft, and you can, too, with a citizen science app: http://observer.globe.gov.
Real World: Citizen Science
What are citizen scientists? Why is their work so important to NASA? Join Dr. Michelle Thaller in this short video (4:28) as she explains how the general public, using scientific protocols, careful observations and accurate measurements, can help NASA make exciting new discoveries. Find out how you can be a citizen scientist today.
Reading the ABCs from Space
See all 26 letters of the alphabet (as well as a pound and at sign) in clouds and landforms observed from space by NASA satellite imagery and astronaut photography. Credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center
NASA Earth Observing Fleet
See how the Earth Observing fleet of satellites crisscrosses the globe with their observations. Credit: NASA’s Scientific Visualization Studio
Click button to view PDF file in another browser window. Right-click on the button (Save link as…) to save the exhibit poster to your computer.
Measuring Earth’s Changes
What Makes Weather?
Do You Know that Clouds Have Names?
In this science-based storybook, children learn that clouds have different names based on their appearance and position in the atmospheric column. Contrails, or condensation trails, are also discussed. The book is one of a series in the Elementary GLOBE unit designed to introduce students to the study of Earth system science.
Additional Cloud Observation Resources
Simple Cloud Tutorial
PDF version of the in-app tutorial, providing information to make an observation.
NOVA Cloud Lab
Practice your cloud classification skills by clicking cloud images in the NOVA Cloud Lab Gallery. Select the cloud type from the drop down menu and click submit. Were you correct?
GLOBE Clouds eTraining
Developed for teachers, this in-depth tutorial explains what clouds are and how they form; why clouds are an important element of the Earth system; and explain why cloud observations are important for understanding our changing Earth system.