Classification of Cloud Types
Through Infrared APT Imagery


Day 1 - Warm-up

Explain to the students that you will be assessing their prior knowledge of the characteristics of cloud types. To do this, you will show them slides of illustrations of various types of clouds. Be sure not to present the clouds in any sort of order. Describe each cloud as you present them with phrases such as "puffy or heap-like" for cumuliform or "layered or sheet-like" for stratiform clouds.

Display one infrared APT image - large enough for the entire class to see - that contains examples of all three cloud types as classified by height.

Point out the relatively dark and warmer surfaces along with the familiar geographic feature you've included (such as the Great Lakes, Chesapeake Bay estuary, or the Baja peninsula). If you are working on an image at an active ground station, use the imaging software to reveal surface temperatures at various points on the image. Then point out the low, middle, and high cloud types and their resulting appearance on APT infrared imagery.

Day 2 - Classifying clouds on infrared APT images

For procedure, see student worksheet entitled Cloud Classification. For the answer to question 1, see 1st paragraph of Background: Clouds

Image of cloud classifications

Image of worksheet number 1

Image of worksheet number 2

Image of cloud class survey

Image of Cloud class survey

Image of cumulus cloud

IMage of Fog

Image of stratus clouds

Image of cirrus clouds

Image of cumulus congestus clouds

Image of cumulonimbus clouds

Reference: "Earth's Mysterious Atmosphere - ATLAS 1 Teacher's Guide with Activities." (For use with Middle-School students.) NASA EP-282/11-91, pp. 193-201.