Nov 11, 2014

Copernicus' monitoring services moving closer to operational phase

The Commission moved a step closer to the start of the operational stage of three of Copernicus’s earth observation services: Atmosphere Monitoring, Climate Change, and Marine Environment Monitoring.

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Implementation of these services was today delegated to two expert organisations who will now manage the provision of the €435 million of EU funds available for this purpose to appropriate EU service providers, in order to obtain the additional components necessary to finalise the service provision in all three areas.

The Atmosphere Monitoring Service provides the capacity to continuously monitor the composition of the Earth’s atmosphere at global and regional scale and provides highly useful information for domains such as public health, safety and air traffic. The Marine Environment Monitoring Service provides information about the physical state and dynamics of the ocean and marine ecosystems which can be used for example in the context of fisheries, mariculture, tourism, and the overall management of coastal zones. As a result of the delegation agreement, the Atmosphere and Marine Environment monitoring services will both become operational in 2015.

The Climate Change service is designed to help policy makers respond to changes in the environment and society associated with human-induced climate change. Following the delegation agreement, it will first go through a running-in phase and is then expected to start its operational phase before the end of 2017.

European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) – an independent intergovernmental organisation supported by 34 countries – was entrusted with the implementation of the Copernicus Services for Atmosphere Monitoring and Climate Change. Mercator Océan, a non-profit organisation producing oceanography products, will deal with the implementation of the Marine Environment Monitoring Service.

To enable the implementation of the services over the period 2014 to 2020, ECMWF will have access to up to €291 million, while Mercator Ocean will receive up to €144 million. ECMWF and Mercator Océan will ensure the technical coordination and procure the majority of the underlying services related to the Atmosphere and Marine Environment Monitoring and Climate Change services, while the European Commission will retain the overall responsibility for all Copernicus’ services and will continue to define its strategic priorities and objectives.

Copernicus is the European system for observing and monitoring the Earth. It consists of a complex set of systems which collect data from multiple sources: earth observation satellites and in situ sensors such as ground stations, airborne and sea-borne sensors. It processes these data and provides users with reliable and up-to-date information through a set of services related to environmental and security issues.