Find a
Resource
Select grade level(s) Select resource type(s) Select collection(s) Select standard(s) Skip navigation Digital Library for Earth System Education
Digital Library for Earth System Education
Search tips
Seasons and Cloud Cover, Are They Related? DLESE Reviewed Collection
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:
  • Intermediate (3-5)
  • Middle (6-8)
  • High (9-12)
Type of resource:
  • For the classroom:
    • Classroom activity
    • Computer activity
    • Lesson plan
  • Visual:
    • Illustration - scientific
    • Imagery - remotely sensed
  • Text:
    • Glossary
  • Portal:
    • Government
  • Dataset:
    • Remotely sensed
  • Tools:
    • Software
Subject:
  • Physics
Technical requirements:
Excel spreadsheet
Atlas or Globe
Cost / Copyright:
No cost
This product is free and clear for general use.
DLESE Catalog ID: MYND-000-000-000-007
Educational standards:
  • National Science Education Standards (NSES):
    • 5-8:
      • Unifying concepts and processes:
        • Evidence, models, and explanation
      • A - Science as inquiry:
        • Abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry
        • Understanding about scientific inquiry
      • B - Physical science:
        • Transfer of energy
      • D - Earth and space science:
        • Earth in the solar system
      • E - Science and technology:
        • Abilities of technological design
        • Understandings about sci. / tech.
    • 9-12:
      • Unifying concepts and processes:
        • Evidence, models, and explanation
      • A - Science as inquiry:
        • Abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry
        • Understandings about scientific inquiry
      • D - Earth and space science:
        • Energy in the earth system
      • E - Science and technology:
        • Abilities of technological design
        • Understandings about science and technology
  • National Geography Standards:
    • Physical systems:
      • The physical processes that shape the patterns of Earth's surface
    • Places and regions:
      • The physical and human characteristics of places
    • The world in spatial terms:
      • How to use maps and other geographic representations, tools, and technologies to acquire, process, and report information
Resource contact / Creator / Publisher:
Contact: MY NASA DATA Team


Author: Erica Alston
National Aeronautics and Space Agency