South Africa has felt the effects of climate change recently with unprecedented drought and unseasonable temperatures.

NASA is encouraging citizens around the world to participate in its programme to track these global climate changes by downloading NASA’s new GLOBE Observer app and sharing their data with a global audience.

It is now easier for South African citizen scientists to join thousands and be guardians of the planet with a smartphone, the great outdoors and NASA’s new GLOBE Observer app. They will join a global community building a cache of scientific data about local environmental conditions.

For South Africans it is a continuation of the country’s storied involvement with NASA. A history that goes back to the agency’s moon landing expeditions. The GLOBE Observer app ties in with South African National Space Agency (SANSA) mandate to promote awareness and an interest in science, engineering and technology.

For now the app allows users to collect photographs of clouds, which are sent to NASA to form a web of global climate data. A secondary benefit is, NASA hopes, a public more aware of the world outside their homes. The information collected is added to satellite-generated information to create a more holistic data archive.

“NASA studies clouds from satellites that provide either a top view or a vertical slice of the clouds. The ground-up view from citizen scientists is valuable in validating and understanding the satellite observations. It also provides a more complete picture of clouds around the world.” says Holli Rieneek Kohl, an education and outreach officer at NASA.

NASA’s Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE) is a two decade-old science and education programme where schools and students in 110 countries participate through observations of their local environment. Global data is collated and their observations are used to give a clearer view of the global environment.

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Categories: Education News