Tree Height Resource Library



Freeze/Thaw - The Breathing Boreal Forest

In this activity students play the role of coniferous trees. First they learn about seasonal freeze/thaw cycles and dormancy through a game of tag. Students then juggle complex environmental factors to try to survive a growing season in a changing climate. Connections between freeze/thaw cycles, photosynthesis and the global carbon cycle are explored.

How to Build a GLOBE Clinometer

Constructing and Using a Clinometer: A clinometer is an instrument used for measuring angles. In GLOBE, you use it to find the angle for calculating tree heights.

Measure a Tree

What is the tallest object you can measure with a meterstick? A fence? The ceiling? Have you ever disagreed with someone about the height of a tree or building? If you work as a team, you can measure the height of any object!

Paper Clinometer

Build a paper clinometer with simple materials like a straw and a weight, like a paperclip or a washer, and use it to measure trees.

Tree Impact Study

Trees are among the oldest living organisms on Earth. Because of their size, complexity, and long life, trees provide a habitat, like an island, that rises far above the ground. Your goal in this study is to document the impact of a large tree on the environment of your school or community.

Reference Materials

Using Trigonometry to Determine the Height of a Tall Object

Even though the NASA GO Trees Tool calculates the angles and tree height for you, please take a look at this great reference video that discusses the trigonometry used in calculating heights of tall object, like trees.


Amazon Canopy Comes to Life through Laser Data

[2:01] Flying and aircraft over the Brazilian Amazon with an instrument firing 300,000 laser pulses per second, NASA scientists have made the first 3D measurements of forest canopies in the region. With this research they hope to shed light on the effects of prolonged drought on forest ecosystems and to provide a potential preview of stresses on rainforests in a warming world.


ICESat-2 Elevates Our World

[1:55] ICESat-2 provides scientists with height measurements that create a global portrait of Earth’s third dimension, gathering data that can precisely track changes of terrain including glaciers, sea ice, forests and more.


NASA GO Trees Promotional Video

The NASA GLOBE Observer Trees Tool Promotional Video

View on Youtube

The Adventures of Pho the Photon

[2:48] Pho, a plucky bright green photon of light, must travel from a NASA spacecraft down to Earth and back again to help complete a crucial science mission in this educational short film. The animation was created and produced by media art students from the Savannah College of Art in Design (SCAD) in Georgia, in collaboration with NASA’s Ice, Cloud and Land Elevation Satellite-2 (ICESat-2) mission. Their goal was to communicate the science and engineering of the mission, slated for launch in 2018.


The GEDI Mission

[3:05] The Global Ecosystem Dynamics Investigation, or GEDI, uses advanced laser technology to reveal the makeup of remote forest ecosystems around the globe. Its measurements of the height of leaves, branches, trees, and shrubs below its path will help scientists map the structure of forests and better understand how ecosystems are storing or releasing carbon.


The Secret Life of Forests

Forests in the United States are constantly changing. For four decades NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey's Landsat satellites have kept a steady watch from space, and now scientists are turning yearly data sets into powerful time series that show the evolution of the landscape. In this visualization of false color images taken of the Pacific Northwest from 1984 to 2011, scientists see many different stories.



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