Monitoring, assessing and forecasting air quality at continental, regional and local scales is important for the health and well-being of Europe’s citizens.
Long-term, high-quality global observations of the composition of the atmosphere are also essential for climate monitoring, and form the basis for monitoring the long-range transport of pollutants. Atmospheric information is also required to quantify and predict resources of renewable energy that could play a key role in adapting Europe’s energy production system for a sustainable future.
The Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service aims to provide continuous data and information on atmospheric composition. The service describes the current state of the atmosphere, forecasts for several days ahead, and analyses consistently data records for past periods. It supports many applications in a variety of domains including health, environmental monitoring, renewables energies, meteorology, and climatology.
The service builds on a series of projects developed within the Framework Programmes 6 and 7 (FP6/FP7), funded by the EC, and on ESA’s GMES Service Element project PROMOTE.
Today, the pilot Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service is provided by the EU-funded Monitoring Atmospheric Composition and Climate - Interim Implementation (MACC-II) project in a pre-operational mode.
MACC-II provides monitoring products and forecasts of global atmospheric constituents such as carbon dioxide, methane, ozone, carbon monoxide and aerosols. They are essential for monitoring climate and long-range transport of pollutants, and to forecast air quality and UV radiation.
Several projects are also on-going within FP7 that explore the scope for downstream use in specialised areas, widening the users’ uptake of Copernicus products.
In the future, the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service will also be supported by the Sentinel satellites.
In particular, Sentinel-3 will extend and improve Envisat and ERS-2’s heritage of aerosol particulate matter and fire monitoring. Sentinel-4, -5 and its precursor -5P will build on the ERS-2, Envisat and MetOp series of ozone and other trace gas observations and significantly improve their observational performances. For example, Sentinel-4, from its geostationary orbit, will have improved temporal resolution.
These enhanced capabilities and synergies between the different sensors will lead to more detailed and comprehensive parameter sets , which when routinely assimilated into atmospheric models, will support a comprehensive analysis and prediction of the composition of the atmosphere.
In addition, near-real time capabilities will contribute important information during extreme events that could endanger health and safety.
Lastly, together with earlier European and non-European missions, Sentinel data will help to build up and continuously extend long-term datasets of essential climate variables for climate monitoring, trend analysis and improved process understanding.
Policy makers will gain a wealth of reliable information to help them better understand environmental burdens and plan for an improved quality of life.