Why Observe?


Clouds are a major component of the Earth’s system that reflect, absorb, and scatter sunlight and infrared emissions from Earth. This affects how energy passes through the atmosphere.  Different types of clouds have different effects, and the amount of cloud cover is also important. Clouds can change rapidly, so frequent observations are useful to track these changes.  Such observations are able to see change over time and help with interpretation of satellite cloud data.

The cloud observation tool in the GLOBE Observer app allows you to photograph clouds and record sky observations and compare them with NASA satellite images. Our goal is to provide a step-by-step process that helps you learn about clouds and their classification through simple observations and photography. 

You are an important part of the puzzle, providing a new perspective of the clouds that our NASA satellites do not have, looking up. We are excited for you to start collecting data through this updated cloud protocol featuring NASA satellite comparison!


Mosquito Habitats

The mosquito is the most dangerous animal in the world. Mosquito-borne diseases kill close to 2.7 million people annually. 

Seasonal patterns of temperature and precipitation may be altered by climate change where you live. These changes could affect the movement of insects such as mosquitoes. Other factors such as land use can contribute to the spread of mosquitoes and the diseases they carry.

The good news is that we can make a difference in working together to eradicate these killers from our neighborhoods through awareness and action. Through the GO App, GLOBE Observers are able to augment broad scale satellite-based research with highly targeted local ground-based observations.

"Satellites don't see mosquitoes per se,” says Assaf Anyamba of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, “However they provide us observation platforms from which to monitor the environmental variables that indicate where mosquito populations can flourish. This helps us identify areas where disease vectors can emerge.”

“By generating in situ data with the help of citizen scientists, we envision the app serving supplementary data to scientists as they model mosquito population outbreaks,” says Rusty Low of the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies, “And equally important is the ability of the app to act as an enabling tool for citizen scientists who want to reduce disease risk in their communities.”

You are an important part of the team working to understand and mitigate mosquito-borne disease risk, providing precision data that NASA satellites are unable to collect. We are excited you have chosen to contribute your data, and are taking action to eliminate mosquito habitat in your neighborhood.


Want to do more than just observe clouds? Here are a few questions to start your scientific exploration:

  1. Do cloud patterns change during the year? How?
  2. Are contrails often seen where you observe? Why?
  3. Are the types of clouds and contrails you observe related?
  4. How do the clouds you see relate to nearby mountains, lakes, large rivers, bays, or the ocean? 
  5. How do your cloud observations compare with satellite images of clouds? Explore satellite images on NASA's Worldview and the NOAA Geostationary Satellite Server


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