Citizen Scientist Wanted: Cloud Watch for NASA

Cloud Rover Observers Wanted
As Citizen Scientists

Tracking clouds is an excellent way for kids to learn about meteorology!  Watch the skies from home and anywhere else you adventure, and compare changes in conditions based on your location!  (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

What shapes do you see in the clouds?  There may be rabbits, eggs, vines, airplanes, and shoes… and no matter what you see in the sky, NASA wants to hear about it!  The organization’s S’COOL program uses data provided by Citizen Scientists, as well as official weather reports, to track cloud cover across the country.

By collecting data on the type of clouds, the height they are at, the thickness of the cover, and related weather conditions, NASA is able to work to create a more comprehensive understanding of the earth as a system.

Scientists use submitted data to track patterns in weather and atmospheric conditions, which then contributes to their understanding of the atmosphere as a whole.

Kids can contribute their observations on the project’s website,  scool.larc.nasa.gov/rover.html. Participants, called Rover Observers, can set up a schedule of times to submit comments or send information periodically as it is gathered – students can use the site as a tool to help them track weather patterns in their community over a long period of time, or just spend a few days monitoring clouds and share what they noticed.

Before heading out, show your kids/students this video from NASA to learn how clouds are formed.  In this video, watch an experiment to make a cloud using liquid nitrogen, and find out how scientists classify clouds according to their altitude and how clouds reflect and absorb light, giving them different colors:

 

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