There are two kinds of people — one who likes spring for the beauty that it brings with it and second who hate it for the bugs that it brings with it. Well, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) love spring for entirely different reasons. The independent space agency and the international GLOBE program are enlisting amateur photographers to take pictures of clouds. For all those who are new, the change in seasons brings around a flurry of cloud activity and NASA wants to record all of it.
And now you can help NASA by taking pictures of the clouds — all they need to do is download an app by the name ‘GLOBE Observer’. The app is available on both iOS and Android platforms.
NASA is taking a lot of data about clouds through series of satellites called the “Clouds and the Earth’s Radiant Energy System” – shortened to CERES, like the dwarf planet.
Even though CERES’ instruments use advanced technology, it is not always easy for researchers to positively identify all types of clouds in their images. For example, it can be difficult to differentiate thin, wispy cirrus clouds from snow since both are cold and bright; even more so when cirrus clouds are above a surface with patchy snow or snow cover. One solution to this problem is to look at satellite images from a particular area and compare them to data submitted by citizen scientists on the ground.
@NASA and the @GLOBEProgram are asking for your help by taking part in a citizen science cloud observation challenge March 15 – April 15, to record 10 cloud observations per day using the GLOBE Observer app. Details here: https://t.co/8opyhI09YD pic.twitter.com/0GmAq97jlj
— NASA_Langley (@NASA_Langley) March 13, 2018
This is the first time they are looking out for citizen scientists for help. Just recently, the European Space Agency (ESA) was able to identify a new type of aurora only after hobbyist aurora-hunters took photos that matched up with their satellite data. Citizen scientists have been very useful with NASA’s research. So taking pictures of clouds would be a much smaller commitment, as again, NASA keeps implying since they want the assistance that CERES is so new, having just launched last November, and it’s still getting the hang of things.
If the public submits tons of cloud photos by April 15, 2018, it would ideally make CERES smarter when it comes to clouds. Marilé Colón Robles, who’s in charge of the GLOBE Clouds team at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Virginia in its official statement said: “The GLOBE Program is offering this challenge to show people how important it is to NASA to have citizen scientist observations; observations from the ground up. We’re going from winter to spring, so the types of storms will change, which will also change the types of clouds.”