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for the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS) and Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S).








Copernicus is the European Programme for the establishment of a European capacity for Earth Observation and environmental information.



The Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) is one of the six services within Copernicus.

The Copernicus Atmosphere monitoring Services (CAMS) is one of the six services within Copernicus.

The Copernicus programme is coordinated and managed by the European Commission.



The European Centre for Medium-range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) implements the Copernicus Climate Change Service and the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service on behalf of the European Commission.

Copernicus News

OBSERVER: European State of the Climate 2018 report provides key information for gauging the environmental signature of a warming planet
OBSERVER: European State of the Climate 2018 report provides key information for gauging the environmental signature of a warming planetfdc_copernicus_admin Thu, 18/04/2019 - 14:42

European State of the Climate 2018

The Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) has compiled the data that forms the basis of the European State of the Climate 2018, an essential snapshot of the region and a useful benchmark for future assessments of the environment. Presented at the European Geosciences Union General Assembly in Vienna last week, the main findings highlight the climatic conditions in 2018 and the changes in key climate variables for different areas of Europe.


The Paris Agreement of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was adopted on December 2015 by 194 countries and entered into force on 4 November 2016 (ratified by 185 parties as of today). The main goal is to limit the global average temperature increase to well below 2°C this century. While this is intended as a long-term threshold, the latest five-year figure is the highest on record, showing warming has already reached about 1.1°C. This highlights the importance to monitor the progress of the international community in curbing greenhouse gas emissions, by using reliable records of climate data.

The European Union supports efforts to monitor climate change through various initiatives. These include the Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S), which is implemented by the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) on behalf of the European Union. Through this service, an authoritative annual report on climatic conditions in Europe is made available to inform decision makers and citizens.

Following last year’s inaugural report, the European State of the Climate recently delivered its second review of our changing planet, using information from C3S and other contributors as the basis for a set of key indicators that provide an overview of the year 2018. The main findings of the report were presented by Freja Vamborg, C3S Senior Scientist, last week at the European Geosciences Union General Assembly in Vienna (7-12 April 2019). This event is the largest European geosciences meeting, attracting more than 14,000 scientists from all over the world.

Compiling this year’s report has been very exciting. With C3S now operationally providing a larger number of datasets and with the contributions from other Copernicus services, we have been able to significantly widen the scope,” says Vamborg, lead author of the report’s summary. “This allows us to underline the close connection between standard meteorological quantities – such as temperature and precipitation – and other key climate variables, including soil moisture, river discharge and vegetation status. The long warm, dry period of 2018 clearly shows those links.”

This report demonstrates the European Union’s commitment to providing up-to-date information on the state of the climate because of its impact in a range of areas, such as agriculture and food security, disaster prevention, energy, health, tourism and water management. The scope of the report, which was compiled by C3S, is reflected by additional contributions from the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service, the Copernicus Emergency Management Service, the Copernicus Marine Environment Monitoring Service, the Copernicus Land Monitoring Service, ECMWF and other partners.


EGU Press Conference

Freja Vamborg, C3S Senior Scientist presents the European State of the Climate at the European Geosciences Union (EGU) Press conference. Credit: Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S)/ECMWF


The European State of the Climate 2018 describes the annual and seasonal climate anomalies of last year primarily compared with the 1981-2010 climate reference period. The focus is on Europe and the European sector of the Arctic, highlighting specific events such as the unusually dry summer that occurred in northern and central Europe.

From spring until the end of summer, almost the whole of Europe has experienced temperatures above the seasonal average. Additionally, the report summarises global information for the key climate indicators such as surface temperature, greenhouse gas concentrations, sea ice cover, glaciers mass and sea level.

Routinely monitoring the climate and its evolution is essential to support European policies,” says Jean-Noël Thépaut, Head of the Copernicus Climate Change Service. “Regional climate variability is obviously quite large, but what our new European State of Climate 2018 shows is that long-term trends in Europe for a number of essential climate variables are unequivocal. This is a reality that nobody can ignore any longer.

Warmest summer on record


The report found that 2018 was one of the three warmest years on record for Europe. All seasons were above average in temperature, with summer being the warmest on record.. Notably, central Europe experienced exceptionally warm temperatures, the highest recorded in the region since at least 1950.

There was also an extended period of drought that mostly affected central and northern Europe, where seasonal precipitation was less than 80 percent of normal levels for spring, summer and autumn. The drought resulted in agricultural losses and water restrictions, with low water levels in rivers also causing restrictions to shipping. By contrast, some areas in southern Europe experienced the wettest spring and summer on record.

These events are not following the trend of a drier Mediterranean and a wetter northern part of Europe, but relate to the anomalous character of the atmospheric circulation over Europe during the late spring and summer,” says Else van den Besselaar, a research scientist at the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI) in De Bilt, the Netherlands. “Every now and then, circulations occur in Europe that cause widespread drought in central Europe. It is the power of the Copernicus program that allows us to combine the different sources of high-quality information to produce such a rich picture of Europe’s climate.”

The warming of Europe is quite clear when the annual European average temperatures are examined, with the top 10 warmest years all recorded since the year 2000,” adds Gerard van der Schrier, a KNMI scientist who also contributed to the report.

60-month average European Temperature

Running 60-month averages of European air temperature according to different datasets. Credit: Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S)/ECMWF.


2018 included ex-hurricane Leslie hitting the Iberian Peninsula in October, causing the strongest storm in the region since 1842, with heavy rainfall and flooding in northern Spain and southwestern France. The year also saw the highest annual wildfire emissions since 2003 in Scandinavia and around the Baltic Sea favored by high temperatures, low rainfall and dry vegetation.

In line with the warm temperatures across the region, the duration of sunshine was also exceptionally high. Regions in central and northern Europe experienced up to 40 percent more sunshine hours than average, with Germany having the sunniest year on record. By contrast, southern Europe’s wetter-than-average year was associated with below-average sunshine duration. The summer surface water temperatures of European lakes were also the highest since the beginning of records in 1995, at 0.8°C above average, which is slightly higher than the temperature anomalies recorded across all the 923 reference lakes worldwide.

Satellite observations collected within the Copernicus program are vital for the monitoring of lake surface water temperatures, which provide an important indicator of the hydrological cycle as well as the impact that climate change is having on lake ecology,” says Chris Merchant, a professor of ocean and Earth Observation at the University of Reading in the United Kingdom. “All the lakes observed in Europe have shown a consistent increase in temperatures,” adds Laura Carrea, a postdoctoral research assistant in the university’s Meteorological Department.

Declining sea ice in the Arctic


In the European sector of the Arctic, sea ice cover continued to decline in 2018 according to a downward trend that became prominent after the year 2000. Sea ice was 30 percent below the long-term average during the summer months. An area of open water occurred north of Greenland in winter and this has been observed for the first time in the cold season since satellites began monitoring sea ice in 1979. Although Arctic sea ice cover shows large seasonal variability, the area north of Greenland tends to have stable conditions of thicker and older sea ice coverage, especially during the winter months.

Glacier mass decreased across Europe, particularly in the Alps. In this region, reference glaciers showed extreme declines due to the exceptionally warm summer temperatures, which more than offset the consequence of the heavy snowfalls of the winter months. Since 1997, the monitored glaciers in Europe have lost a substantial amount of mass with a regional average of around 16 tonnes of freshwater per square metre.

The operational production of glacier change measurements within the Copernicus Climate Change Service provides the observational baseline for high-level climate change research,” says Michael Zemp, director of the World Glacier Monitoring Service at the University of Zurich. “In the past two years, it allowed us to boost the observational sample from a few hundred in situ observations to more than 19,000 glaciers with satellite measurements. The results show that the observed glaciers are losing about 0.75 meter in ice thickness each year. Since the 1960s, seven out of the ten most negative mass-balance years were recorded after 2010.”

Glacier in Alps 2006-2018

Pizolgletscher in eastern Switzerland in 2006 and 2018. Many of the small glaciers in the Alps are disintegrating due to the extreme mass losses of the last years. Credit: photos by Matthias Huss, GLAMOS.


The European State of the Climate 2018 report is based on measurements from satellites and in situ stations, and on data from global ‘reanalyses’ – a consistent combination of computer modelling as well as multiple historic data sources. Included are datasets from the C3S Climate Data Store, a single point of access to past, present and future climate data and information. Available to all users on a free and open basis, it combines the functions of a distributed data centre with a set of services and facilities for users and content developers.

C3S monitors climate on a global scale, including surface air temperature, precipitation and sea ice cover. This data is vital to addressing the challenges of climate change. The European State of the Climate 2018 produces meaningful insights from this trove of data to demonstrate how our climate is changing.


Copernicus digital skills project kicks-off: “Eyes on Earth” Roadshows underway
Copernicus digital skills project kicks-off: “Eyes on Earth” Roadshows underwayadmin Wed, 17/04/2019 - 12:26



EASME and DG GROW have launched a series of roadshows whose aim is to foster the development of applications with space data and other geo-information systems; to develop the technical and scientific skills needed to work in the space data sector; and to encourage citizens’ interest in earth observation activities.


The Eyes on Earth Roadshows

The Copernicus ‘Eyes on Earth’ Roadshows will bring the EU Copernicus programme and the Earth observation sector closer to citizens thanks to a series of five, highly interactive,  events in five different EU Member States from June 2019 to March 2020.



First Roadshow: 12-13 June 2019, Darmstadt, Germany

The ‘Eyes on Earth’ Roadshow in Darmstadt will demonstrate how the European Union’s Copernicus satellite programme helps us all better understand our planet; and creates jobs and business opportunities. The event, which will include an expo area with interactive tools, business presentations, interactive masterclasses dedicated to real business cases (e.g. how to deal with heat islands in cities), and network/matchmaking sessions, will provide a multitude of benefits to participants of all ages and all walks of life. 

For general audiences:

  • Learn more about how to protect our natural resources and the environment through Earth observation and satellite activities.
  • Find how the EU Copernicus satellite programme is working to help us preserve our planet.
  • Experience hands-on how space data can improve your business and operational goals and achieve your policy objectives.
  • Meet with experts; learn about the skills for earth observation activities; and discover career and entrepreneurship opportunities in the space sector.


For audiences involved in the Earth Observation sector:

  • Share your geospatial expertise and the benefits of the Copernicus programme with keen audiences across Europe.
  • Show how we can manage our consumption and our use of the Earth’s natural resources to protect the environment for the benefit of future generations.
  • Show how Copernicus will help to guarantee the safety, security and quality of life of the millions of future Europeans, and respond effectively to disasters and crises.
  • Demonstrate how can we not only improve our understanding of the causes and consequences of climate change, but also how Copernicus provides solutions for the protection of our environment.
  • Use of Copernicus and Earth observation insights to address gaps in the skills agenda.
  • Help shape the space data professionals of tomorrow.
  • Grow your business through the optimal use of geospatial data.

To get the most out of the roadshows, we encourage participants to have an open mind and actively participate in breakout sessions on the application and opportunities of space data. 
Participation in all Roadshows is free of charge The registration to the first Roadshow in Darmstadt, Germany, will be available soon on the Copernicus Events Calendar.


About the ‘Eyes on Earth’ consortium

The Copernicus ‘Eyes on Earth’ Roadshows and the digital skills support action is implemented by a Consortium composed of stichting dotSpace (the Netherlands), LOW (Belgium), RAMANI B.V. (a spinoff from ITC, the University of Twente's Faculty of Geo-information Science and Earth Observation, The Netherlands) and the Erasmus Centre for Entrepreneurship B.V. (ECE, the Netherlands).



OBSERVER: Copernicus for Open Education: bringing Earth Observation into the classroom
OBSERVER: Copernicus for Open Education: bringing Earth Observation into the classroombekasova@space… Fri, 12/04/2019 - 14:39

With is full, free and open data access policy, Copernicus is the biggest and the most ambitious Earth Observation (EO) programme in the world. Besides all its well documented economic and societal benefits, Copernicus can also be used as a tool to make younger generations aware of the many issues linked to environmental and climatic challenges facing our planet. It can also motivate to embrace careers in Earth Observation-related jobs. Many of our readers are parents, grandparents and are asked or could propose to present Copernicus in classrooms. But even for those of us that are experts in one or more aspects of Copernicus, finding the right tools, if not the right words, can be challenging. Copernicus Observer therefore decided to provide its readers with a few tips on how to “talk Copernicus” in the classroom.



Copernicus data access


Copernicus provides various ways you can access the data directly and use it. For the experienced Earth Observation data users, we suggest using direct access via Access Hubs. But if you’re new to this topic and just want to browse various options and ways to use Copernicus data, you can check out our Data and Information Access Systems (DIAS).



The five Copernicus DIAS platforms provide cloud-based tools for manipulating data without downloading it. Some DIAS have special offers for educational purposes (note that basic offers that include Copernicus data access are free, but additional value-added services from a DIAS platform may cost).


Copernicus services


If raw data is not what you’re looking for then you can look into what Copernicus Services have to offer. They provide “crunched” processed data transformed into information for different sectors. In the list below, we’ll show examples of only one of many products that these Services provide and that can be used in a classroom.



Air pollution is a huge problem worldwide, especially in urban areas. Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service provides daily air quality forecasts and analyses. You can access them via the CAMS website, find your location via European Environmental Agency’s online Air Quality Index tool or take a look at Euronews Daily Air Quality forecast to learn what is the quality of the air you are berating today in your city.



Our oceans are an essential part of our planet’s life. Today, oceans and seas are rapidly changing due to climate change, and as they are warming, it affects everything else – from sea life to shipping routes, to coastal life. The Copernicus Marine Environment Monitoring Service (CMEMS) monitors our oceans and one of the largest contributions to scientific understanding is the “Ocean State Report” written with contributions from over 100 scientists and providing a summary of the state of our oceans today. The report and its summary are written in an easy-to-understand manner and has lots of visual information that can be presented in a class. The report can be freely accessed or downloaded online and to use for educational purposes. Additionally, the CMEMS website gives access to many interesting products. You can easily check the ocean temperature reports and forecasts or see how wave or currents intensity varies. Furthermore, the Service has a dedicated webpage aimed at informing users about education opportunities.





The Copernicus Land Monitoring Service provides reliable and consistent information on the European and Global land environment. This allows users to track land cover and land use changes as well as vegetation and crop conditions at different levels. It is possible to investigate the impacts of these changes and seasonal evolution on other aspects of the environment such as the availability and sustainability of energy and natural resources. For example, you can have a look at weekly and monthly vegetation evolution and anomalies for your country in the Global Land Viewer.  



Climate change is widely discussed around the world. For an informed debate on this topic, accurate information is necessary, and this is where the Copernicus Climate Change Service comes in. Among other things, this service provides Monthly Climate Bulletins that can serve as a quick overview of how Earth’s climate evolved on any particular month compared to the reference period of 1981-2010. A quick monthly summary is also available on Euronews that is receiving this data from Copernicus.


Copernicus EMS

The Copernicus Emergency Management Service supports emergency managers around the world after disasters such as floods, hurricanes, forest fires and earthquakes. The Service provides maps and geospatial data that show the effects of the disaster as seen from space. But that’s not all – the Copernicus EMS also monitors forest fires, floods and droughts and gives early warnings to the local authorities on a disaster about to happen. Want to see if there are forest fires happening in your region right now? Check out EFFIS Current Situation Viewer, enter your country, click on the “active fires” boxes and look for the red dots – they represent a fire that has passed in the last 24 hours.


Copernicus Security Service

The sixth Copernicus Service aims at ensuring security of EU citizens, safety at EU borders, preventing loss of life or pollution at sea, fighting cross-border crime, or supporting peace-keeping operations and monitoring areas of interest to the EU abroad. As information products from the Copernicus Security Service is sensitive, it is reserved to so-called authorised users. You can get a glimpse at the benefits of this Service here.



Copernicus material


Throughout the years, Copernicus has published many other materials – images, factsheets, processed satellite imagery, use cases that can also be used after crediting Copernicus.

  • Copernicus factsheets & brochures can be freely downloaded and printed for use.
  • Copernicus imagery can be freely used as long as the Copernicus programme is credited.
  • Copernicus video. If you need a boost before you dive into the data access and services, you can watch the video training series that provide an overview and concrete examples for using Copernicus data and information. These can also be freely used for educational purposes and are aimed at students who would be using data.



Copernicus in your class


At first glance, Copernicus can seem to be too scientific and it is true that a lot of Copernicus data is used by scientists, researchers and other professionals. However, this should not discourage you from using it at any level of education. There are simple tools that could help you bring Copernicus to the classroom. 


  • Sentinel Hub. The Sentinel Playground browser application provides an intuitive and simple way to browse Copernicus Sentinel-2 imagery – just type in any location in the search window and you will see the latest image of the location. You can also play around (thus the Playground) with different types of Sentinel-2 band combinations, e.g. Vegetation Index, Moisture Index, etc., that display different ways in which the Copernicus Sentinel satellite “see” the world which can provide various types of valuable information.

Sentinel Hub

Key West, FL via Sentinel Playground (Credit: European Union, contains modified Copernicus Sentinel data 2019, processed with Sentinel Playground)

Copernicus Hub

Key West, FL Vegetation Index via Sentinel Playground (Credit: European Union, contains modified Copernicus Sentinel data 2019, processed with Sentinel Playground)



  • SnapPlanet. Another great app that demonstrates how beautiful (and fragile) the world we live in is. SnapPlanet is a user-friendly tool to browse or create beautiful Sentinel-2 images from a smartphone or tablet. The application also offers different functionalities such as comparison of images to detect changes, creating time lapses to demonstrate how the Earth is changing or a direct social media sharing function to keep the number of your followers growing.




  • Spectator. This application also offers various easy-to-use image processing functionalities, but it is unique as it includes a convenient tool that allows tracking past or future Sentinel-2 satellite image acquisitions.




  • Earth Nullschool. This browser application visualises information such as weather, wind and ocean currents on a beautifully rendered Earth. Copernicus data in this app show how Particulate Matter (PM 2.5 and PM10), which influence air quality, move across the globe.

Earth Null School

Earth Nullschool visualized Earth - PM2.5 movement (Credit: Earth Nullschool)



  • Copernicus Sentinel app. Track our Sentinel satellites as they orbit the Earth. This mobile application (for Android and iOS) you can track the satellites in real-time, get notifications when they are flying by, and learn more about each of the Sentinel and their products. It is free to download and use.

Copernicus Sentinel App

The Copernicus Sentinel app (Credit: ESA)



  • Resource Watch. How does air pollution look from space? Resource Watch has developed an online tool that allows you to see air pollution caused by different gasses (e.g. NO2 and O3 – they also describe each pollutant, its origins and effects on human health) over the last 30 days.

Resource Watch

Resource Watch Air Quality tool - NO2 concentration over the United States (Credit: Resource Watch)



These are just a few examples of how Copernicus can be used for open education. Currently, Copernicus Academy members are developing material for Copernicus usage in schools and universities – this will also be freely available for educators around the world. Follow the Copernicus website and social media channels (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook) to learn more.


Copernicus Events

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