Nov 30, 2015

Copernicus: the EU programme contributing to climate change policies

(Published by EC-GROW, 30 Nov 2015 ) The EU’s efforts on climate change go beyond ambitious carbon reduction commitments. Through its innovative earth observation programme Copernicus, the EU is harnessing world leading science and technology to help society understand and adapt to our changing environment.

Estimated Article Reading Time: 1 min.

Copernicus is a major EU initiative that benefits the world with full, free and open products and services. It will bring benefits to European economies and to the performance and resilience of critical national infrastructure. Government and industry can use its tools and data to invest with confidence, develop new products and services, and adapt and manage our existing infrastructure to ensure resilience. The overall objective of the Copernicus programme is to provide users with reliable, relevant, accurate and timely climate information. It builds upon existing expertise at national and international level, to maximise and further-develop current knowledge and capabilities, and to make them available from a single source.

One Copernicus service, the Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) component combines observations of the climate system with the latest science to develop authoritative, quality-assured information about the past, current and future states of the climate in Europe and around the world.

Copernicus also benefits the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) which operates using the Copernicus Climate Change Service on behalf of the EU. ECMWF brings together expertise from across Europe.

In addition, Copernicus will provide key indicators on climate change drivers such as carbon dioxide and their impact on climate change (increases in air temperature, melting of ice-sheets and glaciers, rising of sea levels, changes in precipitation patterns, etc.). The use of these indicators will support European adaptation and mitigation policies across many sectors.

Copernicus will deliver substantial economic benefits to Europe by:
•informing policy development to protect people from climate-related hazards such as high-impact weather events
•improving the planning of mitigation and adaptation practices for society
•promoting the development of new services for the benefit of society

When in full operational capacity, Copernicus will provide a major contribution from the EU to the WMO Global Framework for Climate Services and its Climate Monitoring Architecture.

Overall, Copernicus provides comprehensive climate information covering a wide range of components of the Earth-system and timescales spanning decades to centuries. It maximises the use of past, current and future earth observations (from in-situ and satellite observing systems) in conjunction with modelling, supercomputing and networking capabilities. This produces a consistent, comprehensive and credible description of the past, current and future climate.