HAMPTON, Va. -- Shannon Kondos, a Punta Gorda elementary school teacher, has teamed up with NASA Langley Research Center to provide valuable observations that will validate some of their most prominent satellite instruments…and she doesn’t even have to leave the sunny schoolyard of Good Shepherd Day School.
Kondos is now a participant in the S'COOL project (Students' Cloud Observations On-Line), an international effort in which teachers and students examine clouds and submit their observations to NASA. Scientists use these ground measurements to assess the accuracy of CERES (Clouds and the Earth’s Radiant Energy System), a collection of instruments that observe clouds from space and monitor Earth’s radiation balance.
Because clouds have so many layers, satellites can be limited in their observation abilities. Ground measurements greatly improve our understanding of clouds because they offer a different perspective. If students and teachers are able to analyze the clouds within 15 minutes of one of the CERES spacecraft flyovers, the scientists at NASA Langley will be able to take the two sets of data and study how clouds affect the Earth's climate.
"We use these observations to identify cloud conditions that our satellite instrument has trouble with, such as sparse, thin cirrus clouds. The student observations and satellite data are also available for the students to examine," explains Lin Chambers, director of the S'COOL project.
Using the S’COOL Web site, teachers can find out how to join the program, and participants are able to obtain observation instructions and forms. After submitting the cloud observations online, day-to-day classroom learning instantly becomes an important scientific contribution. For more information, go to:
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