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See a dust storm? Submit your photos with the GLOBE Observer App

See a dust storm? Submit your photos with GLOBE Observer.

Do you live in an area that has dust storms? We would like for you to photograph the dust event and submit your photos using the GLOBE Observer app. Have you already been reporting dust storms? We noticed and what to say THANK YOU! Now we want to get the word out that anyone can report dust storms with the app following the steps below.


Meet the Scientists

Daniel Tong

Daniel Tong is a dust forecaster  with the NOAA National Air Quality Forecast Capability Program (, and the NASA Health and Air Quality Applied Science Team ( His research focuses on predicting air pollutants and their impacts on human health.

Kerstin Schepanski


Kerstin Schepanski is a researcher on dust based at the Leibniz Institute for Tropospheric Research (TROPOS, in Leipzig, Germany. In her work, she combines satellite data and computer models to examine dust sources and the dust life cycle.


Why is it important? Dust storm in the southwestern United States seen from satellite

Dust observations made by GLOBE can help scientists in several ways. Your observations provide direct evidence of a dust storm in your area. Scientists can use YOUR OBSERVATIONS to check if their models have done a good job to predict these dust storms. In addition, your data will be used to verify satellite observations. Dust products from satellites are often compared to other independent data sources, such as ground monitors and aircraft measurements. Your GLOBE observations can be part of the “ground truth” data set.


This is VERY IMPORTANT to help communities prepare and avoid harmful impacts of dust storms. Your observations with scientists help alert or tell students or people with asthma when to stay indoors or even let farmers and ranchers know which days would be better to till their land. Your observations also help warn construction workers when to wear protective equipment to reduce risks of Valley fever infectionTruck drivers can plan their trips to avoid roadblocks and costly detours. Even music concerts, sports teams, and weddings can best plan their outdoor events. 


How to report your dust observations using the GLOBE Observer app

Stay safe. Observe from inside a building or vehicleStep 1. Download the GLOBE Observer app

Download from the Google Play Store for Android [link]  

Download from the Apple App Store for iPhone [link]

Register with your email address or use your existing GLOBE sign-in information to log in to the app.


Step 2. Open the app and select "GLOBE Clouds"

Then select "New Cloud Observation"

GLOBE Observer app screens


Step 3. Time and place

Your latitude, longitude, and time of day with be filled in automatically by the app! Just scroll to the bottom of the screen and click Next

Time and place screenshot from GLOBE Observer app


Step 4. Select "Obscured"

obscured selection in the GLOBE Observer app


Step 5. Check the box for "Dust"

Dust option in the GLOBE Observer app


Step 6. Is the ground parched? 

The app will prompt you to record the surface conditions. You are required to answer “Yes” or “No” for each category. For Dry Ground, answer “Yes” if the ground under your feet is dusty, dry, or parched. Answer “No” if the ground under your feet is muddy, moist, squishy, or there’s standing water. 

Surface conditions in the GLOBE Observer app


Step 7. Select "Add pictures manually"

Manual photo option in GLOBE Observer app


Step 8. Take pictures of the dust storm

Make your best guess at the direction of the dust storm. In this example, the dust storm is to the north. Click on the grey camera icon under North. Click on Take Photo. Point your camera at the horizon and take a photo of the dust storm. 

Photo entry interface in the GLOBE Observer app


Step 9. Submit your observations to GLOBE

Click Send Observations Now. Check the box next to your observation. Click “Send 1 Observation to GLOBE”. You’re done! Thank you!

submit data through the GLOBE Observer app


You can check out your dust storm photos on after you submit! 

GLOBE Data visualization system

This dust observation is from Marilé Colón Robles, Project Scientist for NASA GLOBE Clouds, on 21 June 2019. She was at a NASA citizen science meeting in Tucson, Arizona and saw a dust storm approaching in the distance! 

For more training, activities, lessons, articles, videos and visualizations, and books about dust, please see GLOBE Observer and Dust Storms: webinar and resources

Article by Marile Colon Robles, posted on the GLOBE web site



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