Protocol

Observe and report which types of clouds are visible, how much of the sky is covered by clouds, and the opacity of clouds. Also report sky and surface conditions. Each observation is matched to satellite data of clouds taken about the same time and location. Cloud observations can be taken at any time! This Protocol is designed to be flexible and fit into your schedule, classifying, observing, and reporting cloud observations when it works for you. If you observe while a satellite is overhead, you can then receive an email from NASA comparing your observations to satellite data.

NASA Support Page for GLOBE Clouds and Satellite Comparison
Your cloud observations help NASA to better understand the different types of clouds and the effects they have on our Earth’s climate. NASA matches cloud observations to corresponding satellite data. Satellites only see the top of the clouds while you see the bottom. By putting these two vantage points together we get a much more complete picture of clouds in the atmosphere.

Find Satellite Overpass Times by accessing the NASA Cloud Satellite Portal.

Supporting Protocols

Protocols to help in completion of the main protocol
Measure the current air temperature when an instrument shelter is not available. Current air temperature is measured using a thermometer held in the open air but in the shade for at least 3 minutes.
To determine the amount of moisture input to the local environment by measuring rain and snowfall and to measure the pH of precipitation.
Students measure the relative humidity using either a digital hygrometer or a sling psychrometer.

Field Guides

Step-by-step instructions for collection data according to the protocols.

Data Sheets

Sheets to be filled out during data collection

Learning Activities

Activities to help students learn more about the instruments and protocols
Students monitor clouds and weather to begin to understand the connections between the two.
Students practice estimating how much of the sky is covered by clouds.
Students begin to learn cloud types and their names.

Resources

Additional documents or tools related to the protocol