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Adler Zooniverse Summer time Intern Expertise: Lola Fash & NASA GLOBE Cloud Gaze

By Lola Fash, Visitor Author and Adler Zooniverse Summer time ’22 Teen Intern

This summer season I had the chance to be a Zooniverse intern on the Adler Planetarium in Chicago, with two different interns, Tasnova and Dylan.  As a bunch, we carried out a sequence of interviews with researchers main Zooniverse initiatives. My focus venture was the NASA GLOBE Cloud Gaze on Zooniverse. I led the interview with  NASA scientist Marilé Colón Robles, the principal investigator for the venture, and Tina Rogerson, the co-investigator and knowledge analyst for the venture. 

Marilé Colón Robles (proper) and Tina Rogerson (left) outside engaged on GLOBE Clouds. Photograph Credit score: Tina Rogerson. 

NASA GLOBE Cloud Gaze is a collaboration between the International Studying and Observations to Profit the Setting (GLOBE) Program, NASA’s largest citizen science program, and Zooniverse. When NASA started to check clouds to know how they have an effect on our local weather, they launched about 20 satellites to gather knowledge on Earth’s clouds.  Sadly, these satellites are restricted to solely amassing knowledge from above the clouds, which solely paints half of the image for scientists. They wanted knowledge from the bottom to finish the image. In 2018, they launched the primary ever cloud problem on GLOBE Clouds, which requested folks everywhere in the world to submit observations of clouds and images of their sky via the GLOBE Observer app. Individuals responded quicker than anticipated, submitting over 50,000 observations throughout 99 completely different international locations through the month-long problem. Due to the excessive quantity,  it will take months for researchers alone to undergo every submission. So as a substitute, they sought assist, thus birthing the Zooniverse CLOUD GAZE venture, the place folks assist them classify these images.  Zooniverse individuals classify the images by cloud cowl (what p.c of the sky is roofed by clouds), what kind of cloud is within the picture, and in the event that they see some other situations like haze, fog, or mud.

We see the speedy results of those clouds in our environment. For instance, whenever you exit on a sunny day and the solar will get blocked by low altitude clouds, you are feeling cooler immediately. However quite than short-term results, the CLOUD GAZE venture is working to know the long-term position clouds play on our local weather. 

Clouds play a major position in sustaining Earth’s local weather. They management Earth’s vitality price range, the steadiness between the vitality the Earth receives from the Solar and the vitality the Earth loses again into outer area, which determines Earth’s temperature. The results clouds have varies by kind, measurement, and altitude. 


Cirrus, cirrostratus, and cirrocumulus clouds are excessive altitude clouds that enable incoming radiation to be absorbed by Earth, then lure it there, appearing like an insulator and growing Earth’s temperature. Low altitude clouds, resembling stratus and cumulonimbus, hold our planet from absorbing incoming radiation, and permit it to radiate vitality again into area.

The classifications made by Zooniverse individuals are wanted to find out the quantity of photo voltaic radiation that’s mirrored or absorbed by clouds earlier than reaching the floor of Earth and the way that correlates to local weather over time. 

In my interview, I had the glory to fulfill with NASA Scientists Marilé Colón Robles and Tina Rogerson, be taught extra concerning the NASA GLOBE Cloud Gaze effort, and listen to their predictions for the longer term. 

Clip 1: Introductions

This primary clip is of Marilé, Tina, and me introducing ourselves to at least one one other. Notice: The opposite individuals you’ll see within the recordings are Sean Miller (Zooniverse designer and superior mentor for us interns) and Dylan and Tasnova (my fellow interns).

Clip 2: What prompted you to start out NASA GLOBE Cloud Gaze on Zooniverse? 

Quote from Tina from this Clip 2: “Now we have 1.8 million images of the sky. We need to know what’s in these images.”

Clip 3: What have your GLOBE individuals been telling you about what they’re seeing of their native environments concerning the impacts of local weather change?

Within the interview, I requested them about their hopes and broader targets for the venture. They talked about how with a purpose to actually perceive local weather change, we have to collect one of the best knowledge doable. The vast majority of the information we’ve on clouds are from the twentieth century. One of many venture targets was to replace our databases on clouds with a purpose to conduct correct analysis on local weather change. Tina Rogerson, Cloud Gaze’s knowledge analyst, gathers this info and compiles it into simply accessible recordsdata. The recordsdata embody knowledge from a spread of various sources: satellites, Globe observations, and Zooniverse classifications (see https://observer.globe.gov/get-data). They offer folks an opportunity to investigate clouds at completely different factors and join the dots to investigate the entire.  

Scientist Marilé Colón Robles defined that one of many targets of the venture is to make a climatology of cloud varieties primarily based on the information they’ve collected. This could assist us have a file on how the clouds have modified in a given location in relation to the local weather of that space. We might have info on your entire world, each single continent, sure, together with Antarctica.

I selected this venture as a result of I wished to problem myself. I’ve at all times shied away from subjects and conversations about local weather change and international warming. I felt I might by no means absolutely know it so I ought to as a substitute keep away from it by all means doable. My fellow interns and I had three initiatives to select from: Transcribe Shade Conference, Energetic Asteroids, and NASA GLOBE CLOUD GAZE. If it have been some other day, I’d have chosen one of many first two initiatives to be my focus however I wished to alter, to attempt one thing new. The one solution to develop is to step out of your consolation zone and I’m so glad I did. 

Individuals make the error of believing that local weather change can’t be helped and that after our Earth turns into inhabitable we are able to simply pull a Misplaced In House and discover a completely different planet to stay on. I had the possibility to talk with Dr. Michelle B. Larson, CEO of Adler Planetarium, and we talked about how there isn’t one other planet for us to go to if we mess this one up. Even when there was, it will take years and loads of sources to prepared the planet for ourselves. These are sources and years that we might be spending on fixing our house. 

The CLOUD GAZE centered on one of the essential and understudied components in Earth’s local weather – clouds. Individuals everywhere in the world are serving to in their very own means to assist save the planet. Some make certain to at all times recycle their rubbish. Some take public transportation extra typically, and swap to digital autos to chop down on their carbon footprint. You and I might help by taking footage of our sky, submitting it within the GLOBE Observer app, and by going to the Zooniverse Cloud GAZE venture, classifying as little as 10 pictures of clouds per day to multiply the information on clouds, which in flip helps additional our analysis and our understanding of local weather change.  

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