S’COOL Reaches Milestone and Still Going Strong
NASA is marking the anniversary by inviting students everywhere to take part in Global Cloud Observation Day on
S’COOL, Students’ Cloud Observations On-Line, has been using student observations of clouds to “ground truth” or verify CERES since 1997. The program began as a small collaboration between scientists at NASA Langley Research Center in
The students’ work helps researchers double-check CERES measurements, which can occasionally record more or less cloud cover than actually exists. CERES, the Clouds and the Earth’s Radiant Energy System, measures the incoming and outgoing radiation in the Earth’s atmosphere in an attempt to learn more about the role clouds play in the planet’s dynamic climate. Clouds remain one of the least understood climate variables. Student observations have mostly agreed with CERES, but also have consistently shown that CERES slightly under-detects high-altitude clouds, a shortcoming that would be difficult to detect without a database of student observations.
For Global Cloud Observation Day, students can find out “When to Observe” and “What to Observe” at the S’COOL Rover Web site. Cloud watchers can use the “Report Form” to record observations and send the information to NASA. About a week later, students can explore the “Database” section of the Web site to compare observations to what the satellite reported.
Other S’COOL anniversary celebrations include a
For the S’COOL Rover Web site and more information, go to: