“Head in the clouds”: the NASA Spring Cloud Observations Data Challenge will end this Sunday 15th April 2018

The US space agency offers an opportunity to Internet users to participate in its work on climate. From March 15th to April 15th, people around the world are invited to participate in sky mapping in the framework of the du Spring Cloud Observations Data Challenge.

1. A free Application available

This gigantic open data collection is part of the GLOBE program (Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment) which aims to encourage students and anyone interested in science to participate in the collection of geolocated data. Anyone wishing to participate in this data collection must download the free application GLOBE Observer of which a French version  is available for iOS and Android.

Once the application is installed, the scientist or citizen must create an account. When the app is launched, the user can take a snapshot of the sky, and send the photo with some information (metadata), such as date, time, geographical coordinates, percentage of overcast, types of clouds … there is no need to be an expert, the application makes proposals itself.

2. Climate change observations

The arrival of spring disrupts weather conditions and this complicates NASA observations because some clouds are difficult to identify on satellite imagery. Anyone can help the American organization document its research on cumulonimbus and other clouds.

Internet users are invited to share 10 cloud photos per day to enrich the NASA database. NASA recommends to wait between 10 and 15 minutes between photography each shot to record real changes in the atmosphere. And if possible refine its observations by learning about when government satellites pass over the observed area. The metadata accompanying the photos will allow scientists to have a precise location of the cloud.

Then a week later, you will receive an email from NASA allowing you to compare your results, while helping scientists refine their satellite instruments. Scientists will be able to cross their satellite data to those sent by contributors and the results will be used to enrich their understanding of climate change under the CERES project CERES (Clouds and the Earth’s Radiant Energy System).

The most prolific participants, that is to say those who post 10 photos per day for a month, will be congratulated by NASA scientists through a video posted on the GLOBE Clouds website. But the most important thing is to participate!


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All  the sitography was consulted on April 8th, 2018.