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NASA Wants Your Cloud Photos to Help Verify Satellite Data


NASA is looking for people who are willing to regularly snap and share photos of clouds. The space agency is turning to citizen scientists for a cloud observation project that will help validate the images captured by satellites in space.

From now until April 15th, you can take part in NASA’s “challenge” by downloading the free GLOBE Observer app for iOS or Android (there are also advanced data entry methods). Once you have the app, you can snap and send cloud observation photos directly to NASA through it.

“Researchers use, and value, this citizen science cloud data because it helps to validate data from Earth-observing instruments,” NASA writes. “[I]t is not always easy for researchers to positively identify all types of clouds in their images.”

“For example, it can be difficult to differentiate thin, wispy cirrus clouds from snow since both are cold and bright; even more so when cirrus clouds are above a surface with patchy snow or snow cover,” NASA continues. “One solution to this problem is to look at satellite images from a particular area and compare them to data submitted by citizen scientists on the ground.”

“Looking at what an observer recorded as clouds and looking at their surface observations really helps us better understand the images that were matched from the satellite,” says GLOBE Clouds lead Marilé Colón Robles.

And this app and program are a “challenge” because there’s a prize: the people who submit the most cloud pictures by the deadline will be congratulated in a video on the GLOBE website and through social media.

(via NASA via Engadget)