Are Noctilucent Clouds a key indicator of Climate Change? Observations of the Upper Atmosphere

Raised of $4,500 Goal
Ended on 5/07/24
Campaign Ended
  • $30
  • 1%
  • Finished
    on 5/07/24

About This Project

I am studying Aeronomy and in particular Noctilucent Clouds to further understand how they're an indicator of changes in the upper atmosphere and whether these are linked with Climate Change. I will be using a high altitude balloon to study these as they form in the Upper Atmosphere, the Mesosphere which is 76km - 85km above Earth. Noctilucent Clouds are only observable during the summer months at Earths polar regions making them Earth's rarest clouds.

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What is the context of this research?

Earths atmosphere is a reflection of what is happening on Earth as any changes are noted in the atmosphere directly making our atmosphere a great place to study life on Earth. The fact that Noctilucent Clouds are becoming more common means there are significant changes happening within our atmosphere and we need to further understand these, as noted in several research papers. Noctilucent Clouds have been studied and observed for years through satellite and even Astronauts observation from the ISS but more observations and studies are needed to see their link to climate change. Research papers such as the following give an indication of these impacts.

On the Anthropogenic Impact on Long-Term Evolution
of Noctilucent Clouds: https://agupubs.onlinelibrary....

What is the significance of this project?

First of all, we aren't entirely sure when these clouds first appeared though it has been noted that these were first observed after the eruption of Krakatoa. There has been little research on Noctilucent Clouds yet the study that has been done indicates their presence is a direct result of methane convecting upwards into the atmosphere. We just don't know enough about these yet but their presence alone is worth investigating further.

What are the goals of the project?

There are two main goals of this project. The first is to successfully capture images of Noctilucent Clouds using a high altitude balloon and the second is to create a repeatable way to observe Noctilucent Clouds using high altitude balloons so that this research can repeated yearly. It is hoped that by having a repeatable way to observe these clouds that Citizen Scientists can participate and help gather more data towards understanding this phenomenon.


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I will be travelling to Fairbanks, Alaska from Brisbane, Australia to carry out my research with the intention of staying for 10 days where I will be essentially building a satellite to launch via high altitude balloon. These budget items will help with my travel to Alaska and the purchase of payload items for my research. My payload items include a high altitude balloon, single board computer and sensors for atmospheric readings as well as any additional sensors or cameras required. I've included a budget item for Image Analysis as I aim to use Machine Learning (via GPU services) to analyse different structures and patterns captured of the Noctilucent Clouds

Endorsed by

I believe Samantha brings in valuable skills and knowledge to this research campaign. This experience will help her grow and continue to contribute to the science world! She is a valuable member of this research team.

Project Timeline

The main timeline for this project takes place in August, when observations of the Noctilucent Clouds are possible. Between now and then further research will be conducted, as well as continuing the design of the payload that is intended to be launched using a high altitude balloon. There is only a narrow window for observations but things will happen fast during that window. It is hoped there will be chance for multiple balloon launches for as many observations as possible.

Apr 07, 2024

Project Launched

Aug 01, 2024

Travel to Alaska

Aug 03, 2024

Compete Payload Build

Aug 05, 2024

Launch high altitude balloon

Aug 06, 2024

Recover high altitude balloon

Meet the Team

Samantha Raines
Samantha Raines
AI & Robotics Engineer

Samantha Raines

Hi there, I am Sami, an AI & Robotics Engineer as well as avid Space fan and ocean advocate. I'm currently working on AI & Robotic Vision for Lunar Missions, having previously worked on Deep Sea Robotics and am fascinated by all things Aeronomy, Heliophysics and anything related to Atmospheric Science. I am passionate about technology impacting the world in a positive way and believe there are so many ways technology can contribute to a more sustainable future.

Project Backers

  • 2Backers
  • 1%Funded
  • $30Total Donations
  • $15.00Average Donation
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