Seasons and Cloud Cover, Are They Related?
From NASA My NASA Data
This lesson uses NASA satellite data to correlate cloud cover over Africa to the solar declination. The student will access NASA data using the MY NASA DATA Live Access Server and import the data into Excel spreadsheet software. The student will identify the relationship between solar declination and the four seasons and relate seasonal solar radiation patterns to cloud formation. The four seasons on Earth have a scientific basis. The earth is tilted 23.5 degrees from vertical. This tilt and the Earth's orbit around the sun are the reasons for the seasons. Earth's tilt and orbital position cause differing angles at which the sun's rays hit the surface of the Earth. As Earth rotates on its axis, the tilt and orbital position also cause fluctuating lengths of daylight during the year depending on latitude. The latitude on the Earth where the sun is directly overhead at solar noon is called the solar declination. This location is somewhere between 23.5 N and 23.5 S depending on the day of the year. This region defines the Tropics. Where solar radiation is most intense, the warm moist air rises and clouds are frequently formed. In this lesson, it will be shown that the location of these clouds tends to follow solar declination.
Intended for grade levels:
Type of resource:
Atlas or Globe
Cost / Copyright:
This product is free and clear for general use.
DLESE Catalog ID: MYND-000-000-000-007
Resource contact / Creator / Publisher:
Author: Erica Alston
National Aeronautics and Space Agency