Observer News

GLOBE 2020 Yearbook: A Year Like No Other

It goes without saying that 2020 was a year like no other. However, at least one thing stayed the same – the GLOBE community’s dedication to staying connected, adapting to a changing world, and continuing to do meaningful Earth science. For many, it might seem like 2020 was a year of setbacks, but we’d beg to differ. Here are a few highlights of the things we accomplished this year.



In 2020, GLOBE turned 25

2020 was a special year for the GLOBE Program, as we celebrated our 25th anniversary. A lot has changed since the program was started in 1995, and GLOBE is no stranger to having to adapt. Luckily, we had started to develop ways of connecting virtually long before “social distancing” was part of our vocabulary.


In 2020, we connected virtually

Getting to meet members of the GLOBE community is the highlight of our year, it just looked a little different this year. We held our first-ever Virtual Annual Meeting.

Banner for the 2020 GLOBE Virtual Annual Meeting


We also hosted 65 webinars in 2020 for educators, students, and citizen scientists. Many GLOBE webinars are archived on the GLOBE website. Check the GLOBE events listing to see past webinars or check what is coming up next.


In 2020, the GLOBE community came together

In a year when the lines between home, work and school were blurred, we worked to provide virtual resources -- from #NASAatHome videos to Family Guides – and loved seeing you take part in what we had to offer. You can re-watch any of the #AtHome videos on the YouTube playlist below.

You can also find more selected activities on the GLOBE Observer at Home page, on the Family Science page, in the full Clouds Family Guide, and on the GLOBE Coronavirus Response page. (La Guía para Familia de Nubes también está disponible en español.)


In 2020, challenges were a challenge

We also adjusted how we do things to best support you and your health and safety. The focus of our previous data challenges was – well – to collect data! So what do we do when not everyone can leave their homes? For the first time ever, our Community Cloud Challenge involved asking for more than just observations. You did activities, made art, and learned more about clouds – apart, but together.


In 2020, we made improvements to the website, and to the app

The GLOBE website got a big update in 2020, although much of it was behind the scenes and not visible to the public. You can learn more on the website update one-stop shop page. We also made improvements in the GLOBE Observer app, the biggest of which was the new Cloud Wizard. We have more updates planned for 2021, including some big changes for the Mosquito Habitat Mapper tool. To check when changes are made to the app, big or small, you can always look at the GLOBE Observer app status page.


In 2020, you stayed safe

We asked you to stay safe – a lot – and you did! We probably got more observations from backyards and balconies than we have in the history of the program. Thanks for taking observations while taking precautions! You can view all of the data submitted by you and your fellow citizen scientists in the GLOBE Visualization System.

Photos on a map using the GLOBE Visualization System
GLOBE data from 2020 on a map in the GLOBE Visualization System


Person wearing solar viewing glasses and a face mask.
A GLOBE citizen scientist in Argentina prepares to safely view the total solar eclipse on 14 December 2020.Read more about the observations from the GLOBE community during this special event.


In 2020, we published papers, and you did research of your own

Science journals are the primary way that the scientific community shares their research, and this year we published several papers. GLOBE students did research, too and shared their results at the International Virtual Science Symposium, and even the American Geophysical Union Virtual Fall Meeting!

Here are three examples of peer-reviewed papers published this year exploring GLOBE data:

Images and graphs from scientific papers.The GLOBE website has a more complete list of publications and presentations related to GLOBE data, and on the GLOBE Observer website you’ll find a curated list of papers and publications related to the tools in app.


In 2020, you showed the world that science is better together

With 124 participating countries, GLOBE has always been a beacon of international cooperation. GLOBE’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force is working to help ensure that the program reflects and supports the breadth of our global community. This ongoing conversation will continue to shape the future of GLOBE. You can see some of this conversation on the DEI blog.


For even more accomplishments from the year, check out the GLOBE Annual Report for the period May 2019 to May 2020.

We’re looking forward to 2021, and beyond to the next 25 years of the GLOBE Program. Here’s to the future! Happy New Year GLOBE family!



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A graphic showing silhouettes of two people taking observations with their phones. They are standing between water with mosquito larvae in it, grass, trees, and clouds, which represent the tools within the GLOBE Observer app.

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