Page tree
Skip to end of metadata
Go to start of metadata

You are viewing an old version of this page. View the current version.

Compare with Current View Page History

« Previous Version 55 Next »

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

With two satellites in orbit, the Sentinel-3 mission is now delivering data at full capacity
With two satellites in orbit, the Sentinel-3 mission is now delivering data at full capacityadmin Mon, 15/07/2019 - 14:27

Sentinel-3 constellation now fully operational


Fig 1: Artist’s impression of Sentinel-3


The Sentinel-3 satellites: Sentinel-3A and –3B are a part of the European Union’s Earth Observation Copernicus Programme, working in tandem to deliver crucial satellite data from space. 

The constellation officially began routine operations on 20 March 2019 when marine product services from Sentinel-3B became fully operational and data from the Ocean & Land Colour Instrument (OLCI) on board were made publicly available to users.

Since its launch in 2018, Sentinel-3B has been busy complementing -3A by continuously delivering products to users. Both satellites orbit around the Earth every day at different times and locations in order to record the maximum amount of data possible and provide optimal coverage.

Twitter link:


The role of EUMETSAT in operating the satellites, plus processing and distributing Sentinel-3 data

The two satellites are operated from EUMETSAT’s Mission Control Centre, which is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Sentinel-3 spacecraft and the dissemination of its marine data to users, with near real-time products delivered in less than three hours from the Sentinel-3 Marine Centre.

Our partners, the European Space Agency (ESA) are responsible for performing the equivalent for land mission data processing and dissemination.

EUMETSAT provides data to the different Copernicus Services, e.g. the Copernicus Marine Environment Monitoring Service (CMEMS) and to users worldwide both via EUMETCast (a multi-service dissemination system) and the Copernicus Online Data Access system (CODA). 

Another such service available to users is WEkEO, which is a Copernicus Data and Information Access Service (DIAS) and a collaboration between EUMETSAT, the European Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) and Mercator Océan International.

This new initiative provides a single access point to Copernicus data and information, including Sentinel-3 data disseminated at EUMETSAT, which is available to download for free via the WEkEO platform.

The service allows users to make use of the data to meet their specific needs and also offers support and training.


Why two are better than one

Sentinel-3A, launched in early 2016, has been making accurate observations of sea surface temperature, ocean colour and sea surface topography for more than three years now. The launch of Sentinel-3B completed the full mission constellation for the Sentinel-3 programme and the two satellites now operate in parallel to provide optimum global coverage, delivering high-quality data that has exceeded expectations. 

With this data, we are able to get an accurate understanding of the health of our oceans and, together with Copernicus Services, support decisions in relation to environmental-protection policies.

The data is also important in order to measure any changes or patterns (when compared with historical data), to help develop better models and forecasts of our oceans, monitor climate change and much more.

Sea Surface Temperature (SST) satellite data, for example, provide essential input for modelling and understanding atmospheric circulation (the large scale movement of air) and the circulation of oceans. It also influences ocean biogeochemistry (which impacts fishing) and is an indicator of climate change.

Anne O’Carroll, EUMETSAT Remote Sensing Scientist and Sea Surface Temperature expert, goes a little deeper into exactly what SST is: “When we are observing SST it is important to understand which measurement or observation we are actually looking at. Infrared satellites observe the Skin SST, which is actually representative of around 10 microns in depth. The penetration depth for passive microwave radiometers observing SST is a little deeper at 2-3 mm.

When we are validating with drifting buoys, this is at a depth of around 10-20 cm. During the day, during diurnal warming, under the right insolation and wind speed conditions, the surface layer heats up. At night, the temperature drops to the foundation SST, and this is the SST used in most SST analyses and models.

Therefore, understanding this diurnal and near-surface variability is important, along with the time of the observations, and to consider the depth of all the measurements with their related uncertainties.”


SST overview, EUMETSAT

Fig 2: SST overview, EUMETSAT


Hilary Wilson, Copernicus Sentinel-3 Mission Manager at EUMETSAT manages the organisation’s Sentinel-3 ground segment and mission operations as part of her role, ensuring the data are processed on ground in a timely, complete and correct manner. She oversees all of the activities performed in-house and coordinates with the Sentinel-3 partners.

Discussing the benefits of having two satellites, Hilary said: “Running two satellites in parallel means that although this doubles the capacity of the EUMETSAT systems, it also doubles the amount of data available to our users and allows the complete coverage of the Earth for the optical mission data within two-three days, which is a mission requirement”.


A health check of our planet

The three instruments on board: the OLCI, the Sea and Land Surface Temperature Radiometer (SLSTR) and the Synthetic Aperture Radar Altimeter (SRAL), part of the Ocean Surface Topography Mission (OSTM), work very hard to provide us with a clear picture of our oceans, each focusing on one of the following aspects:

  • The OLCI instrument shows us ocean colour variations by measuring light in the visible part of the spectrum, which can provide us with important information about ocean biology;
  • The SLSTR instrument records the ocean temperature and other information such as cloud properties and the temperature of ice by measuring electro-magnetic radiation in both the visible and thermal infrared parts of the spectrum;
  • The Synthetic Aperture Radar Altimeter displays ocean surface topography by sending a pulse of energy from the satellite down to Earth, from where it bounces back. The time it takes for this pulse to bounce and return can be used to estimate the height of our sea surfaces.

Hayley Evers-King, Marine Earth Observation Scientist at Plymouth Marine Lab (UK) who works very closely with Sentinel-3 data said “One of the strengths of the programme is the plan for each Sentinel mission to consist of more than one satellite – termed a ‘constellation’ – this allows for better spatial and temporal coverage than could be achieved with a single satellite.”


Top of atmosphere RGB images from the SLSTR sensors aboard Sentinel-3A and Sentinel 3B. This data was captured as Sentinel-3B drifted out of tandem phase to its operational orbital configuration.Top of atmosphere RGB images from the SLSTR sensors aboard Sentinel-3A and Sentinel 3B. This data was captured as Sentinel-3B drifted out of tandem phase to its operational orbital configuration.

Fig 3 & 4: Top of atmosphere RGB images from the SLSTR sensors aboard Sentinel-3A and Sentinel 3B. This data was captured as Sentinel-3B drifted out of tandem phase to its operational orbital configuration.


EUMETSAT are providing the level 1 and level 2 marine data from the ocean colour, sea surface temperature and altimetry instruments on board. 

“A tandem phase”, added Hayley, “where one satellite closely follows the other, has allowed the EUMETSAT mission management teams to intercompare the instruments aboard the satellites, prior to full operational status of the constellation. Intercomparison of instruments is important for data accuracy and for the creation of data sets for understanding long-term changes, such as in sea surface temperature, sea level, or biological productivity – all of which can be measured by the instruments aboard the two Sentinel-3 satellites.”

Coverage provided in one day by the OLCI instrument from Sentinel-3A alone, and Sentinel-3A and B combined. Product shown is the chlorophyll-a concentration from the OC4ME algorithm.

Fig 5: Coverage provided in one day by the OLCI instrument from Sentinel-3A alone, and Sentinel-3A and B combined. Product shown is the chlorophyll-a concentration from the OC4ME algorithm.


Benefits of the Sentinel-3 mission

The data provided by the Sentinel constellation of satellites are extremely important for public authorities, international organisations and other service providers to improve the quality of life for European citizens by providing timely warnings and accurate forecasts. Measurements such as water quality and algal bloom activity can be recorded and information delivered by these services. CMEMS, for example, is able to provide important information on the state of ocean and marine ecosystems. 

Antonio Repucci, Coordinator of Earth Observation Data at Mercator Océan International, says that "The Sentinel-3A and -3B missions are crucial for the Copernicus Marine Service portfolio, where three types of marine products can be found: satellite, in situ and model products. For example, our satellite sea level and wave products are built using four different satellites, among which are Sentinel-3A and -3B, and more than 50% of their signal is originating from Sentinel-3A and -3B.

Moreover, our ocean models also need satellite data through data assimilation techniques to increase the model forecast accuracy. Thanks to the very good availability and latency of Sentinel-3A and -3B, global and notably regional models - where data freshness is crucial - are improved."


A growing family

The two satellites are not the only planned spacecraft in the Sentinel-3 constellation. The Copernicus Programme has already signed contracts for –C and –D satellites. These two satellites are planned for launch in 2021 and beyond.

You can learn more about Sentinel-3B’s unique instruments from Hayley, who navigates her way around the full-size Sentinel-3 model based at EUMETSAT’s headquarters in Darmstadt, Germany in this “Meet the Satellite” video:


The Copernicus Emergency Management Service: a global, versatile and operational tool for emergency managers and disaster risk reduction stakeholders
The Copernicus Emergency Management Service: a global, versatile and operational tool for emergency managers and disaster risk reduction stakeholdersRaluca.Caragea Wed, 10/07/2019 - 10:31

The Copernicus Emergency Management Service kick-started in April 2012. Seven years later, it has become an essential tool for emergency managers and disaster risk reduction stakeholders. A recent EMS user workshop in Stresa (Lago Maggiore, Italy) provided a good opportunity to measure the road travelled and to introduce the new features of “Copernicus EMS 3.0”.

The Copernicus EMS is currently composed of two main pillars: an Early Warning and Monitoring component and an on-demand Mapping component. The former comprises three elements:

  • Drought observatories: the European and Global Drought Observatories (EDO and GDO) which provide drought-relevant information and early warnings for Europe (EDO) and the globe (GDO). Short analytical reports (Drought News) are published in case of imminent droughts.
  • Forest Fire Information Systems: the European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS) which will soon be complemented by the Global Wildfire Information System (GWIS) – currently being developed in collaboration with NASA and the GEO Secretariat. EFFIS provides fire danger forecasts (up to 10 days ahead of the current date) and monitors forest fire activity in near-real time (updated maps of active fires and burnt areas (up to 6 times a day), providing country statistics of fire activity in Europe, Middle East and North Africa.
  • Floods Awareness Systems: EFAS, the European Flood Awareness System and GloFAS its global counterpart, deliver flood forecast information to relevant stakeholders supporting flood risk management at national, regional and global level. The forecasts are produced using in situ and satellite data as well as hydro-meteorological models and provide users with a wide range of added value flood forecast products.


The Mapping component delivers, for any type of disaster, on-demand maps and geospatial information produced on the basis of high and very high resolution satellite imagery from Copernicus Sentinel spacecraft or so-called optical or radar “contributing missions” whose data is procured to meet user requirements in terms of resolution or features to be extracted. The EMS Mapping component is composed of:

  • A Rapid Mapping service which delivers geospatial information within hours or days from its activation by an “authorised user” in support of emergency management activities immediately following a disaster. Standardised mapping products are provided: e.g. to examine the situation before the event (Reference product), to roughly identify the most affected locations (First Estimate Product), assess the geographical extent of the event (Delineation product) or to evaluate the intensity and scope of the damage resulting from the event (Grading product).
  • A Risk & Recovery Mapping service  composed out of 2 service levels providing geospatial information in support of Disaster Management activities which are not related to immediate response. This serves prevention and preparedness efforts as well as disaster risk reduction and recovery phases. It covers risk, exposure and vulnerability to a wide variety of natural or man-made disasters.


Over the years, the Copernicus programme, in close cooperation with users, among which DG ECHO, the European Commission’s (EC) Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations department, and with the EC’s Joint Research Centre as an implementation partner, has regularly updated and upgraded its service in order to keep up with evolving user requirements, to integrate the latest technological developments and to take stock of the lessons learned over time.



Participants of the Copernicus Emergency Management Service Annual Meeting, May 2019, Stresa, Italy


As a result, a certain number of service evolutions have been implemented or are in preparation.

As far as Rapid Mapping is concerned, the service has been activated on more than 360 occasions in the wake of disasters including larger ones such as hurricanes Irma or Harvey in the United States and the Caribbean, tropical cyclones Idai and Kenneth in Mozambique, the Palu and Krakatau tsunamis in Indonesia, l’Aquila and Amatrice earthquakes in Italy as well as forest fires in Doñana (Spain), Monchique (Portugal) or Attika (Greece). Users often activate the service for floods, the most frequent disaster event in the world, the Ebro basin (Spain), in Australia or in the Balkans. Other examples where rapid maps have been provided are for ,  for humanitarian crises in Bangladesh, Iraq and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

A new product portfolio has been made available: since May of this year, new features have been introduced such as a First Estimate Product (FEP) which provides an extremely fast general assessment of the situation; faster delivery times for rush mode products; a SL2 product category for cases in which urgency is not extreme and in which products are delivered within maximum 5 days. The link with early warning and alert systems, in particular the European Flood Alert System, has also been strengthened in order to allow shorter delivery times, thanks to the pre-tasking of satellite assets. The products of both Rapid and Risk & Recovery Mapping will also be shortly available through interactive web services to facilitate accessibility and integration into users’ operational workflows.  Finally, the use of Sentinel data is continuously increasing as the Sentinel-1 and 2 constellations have become fully operational.


rapid mapping

The number of Rapid Mapping activations has increased over time, not only because of a higher number of disasters, but also due to a greater user uptake]


rapid mapping component


The Rapid Mapping component has fast mapping production and delivery, while the trend is also improving for satellite tasking and acquisition


For Risk and Recovery Mapping a new product portfolio will be introduced: standardised products such as reference maps, risk status for population and assets, probabilistic risk assessment based on likely hazards etc., will become available in shorter timeframes, while customised products, which will be known as FLEX, will remain part of the catalogue when users require complex products such as evacuation maps, hazard exposure maps, studies into the resilience of buildings and people, etc. This follows the success of this product offering which has seen demand double between the period from 2013 to 2015 and the years 2016, 2017 and 2018 during which the visibility of the service and the number of users has considerably increased. Among the 62 past activations, examples of the type of user requests include: Assessing changes in ground subsidence rates in the Mekong Delta, in Vietnam; Forest fire risk assessment in Southern Croatia; Historic flood delineation and analyses for Elbe/Vltava catchment in Germany and Czechia; Reconstruction monitoring of St. Martin and St. Barthelemy islands (after hurricane Irma); or Tsunami risk assessment in Southern Italy. As the new service offering is currently being put in place, the activities will resume in the fourth quarter of 2019.


3d rendering

3D rendering of the vector data from the Risk and Recovery activation EMSN059 “Mapping Forest fire risk assessment in Southern Croatia”



risk and recovery

Example of Risk and Recovery product overview: Land Cover Land Use map of Les Cayes: (Haiti)

(EMSN050: Post hurricane Matthew Damage Assessment and Monitoring of Recovery Activities in the southern region of Haiti)


The EDO and GDO Drought Observatories have ramped up their activities and produced reports about drought episodes in Mainland Southeast Asia (July 2019), India (June 2019), in the Horn of Africa (April 2019), Central America and the Caribbean (March 2019) or Southern Africa (January 2019) while their products have been widely used during the European drought of the summer of 2018 and frequently quoted in mainstream media.


risk of drought

Risk of drought impact for agriculture (RDrI-Agri) over India, 1st to 10 th of June 2019


The EFAS and GLOFAS Flood Awareness Systems have enlarged their network of partners, thus being able to add more in situ data and basin-level models into its forecasting environment. For instance, the Water Management Agency of Luxembourg and the Greek General Secretariat for Civil Protection have recently joined the EFAS network. EFAS has also introduced, in early 2019, a new e modern, user-friendly and flexible web interface to improve user experience and accessibility. Finally the EFAS data has also been integrated into the Copernicus Climate Change Service Climate Data Store, enabling users to combine it with other climate-related parameters.


EFAS website

The new EFAS website: a new modern, user-friendly and flexible web interface


Finally, EFFIS, the European Forest Fire information System has continued to develop its product portfolio, which includes a full range of statistics, per country, on number of fires, burned areas, etc. with comparisons with the 2008-2018 average, as well seasonal trends and fire news, over and above the Current Situation Viewer which enables to visualise fire danger forecasts, active fires and burnt areas at coarse resolution. EFFIS has really become mainstream in many EU Member States: for example, during the fire season, the Croatian fire danger forecasts are presented in the evening news on national television, while in Spain the forest fire coordination centres of several autonomous regions tweet daily the EFFIS fire danger forecast for the area.



Example of EFFIS country statistics


EFFIS fire

EFFIS fire danger forecast on Croatian television evening news during the fire season


forest fire management

Tweet from the forest fire management agency of the autonomous region of Extremadura in Spain showing the fore danger forecast of EFFIS for its territory


As demonstrated in this article, the Copernicus Emergency Management Service is an iconic example of the European Union at its best. Supporting preparedness, disaster risk reduction, disaster management and recovery efforts, the EMS has indeed become an essential component of the EU Civil Protection and RescEu mechanisms, as well as of the United Nation’s Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, a global endeavour to save lives, preserve property and respond to the ever-growing number and impact of disasters fuelled by climate change.



The Copernicus In Situ Newsletter#6 released
The Copernicus In Situ Newsletter#6 releasedadmin Thu, 04/07/2019 - 13:47

Copernicus In Situ Newsletter #6 discusses the pivotal role of in situ in the fulfillment of the full potential of the programme, in light of the exponentially increasing operational use of Copernicus data.

The key word of Newsletter#6 is cooperation: reporting on milestones reached and ongoing progress, the newsletter emphasises the contributions Copernicus can make to compliance with environmental regulation, and the potential for contribution to meteorological services highlighted at the WMO congress. Challenges still standing before Copernicus in situ are also tackled: we analyse in detail both the launch of the Copernicus In Situ Component Information System (CIS2) database and the problem of sustainable funding for in situ. To know more about any of these topics, please continue reading the newsletter.


Copernicus Events

Could not retrieve - Page not found.


  • No labels