Copernicus is the European system for monitoring the Earth.

Governments, commerce, industry, as well as citizens all around the world, are increasingly aware of the need for development without damaging our environment. The immense forces affecting the climate and environment of our planet are complex. Allowing for the definition of sustainable development policies, responsible decision-making and careful planning, requires comprehensive information on global, regional and local levels. This information also is relevant for the support to EU Security policies i.e. in the area of border and maritime surveillance.

The Copernicus Programme, established in 2014 as the flagship Earth Observation programme of the European Union, is the response to this challenge. Its objective is to "ensure an autonomous capacity for space-borne observations and provide operational services in the field of atmosphere, marine, land and climate change monitoring, emergency management and security".

The portfolio of Copernicus operational information services will be based on the ingestion of space-based and in situ observations provided by the Copernicus Space and In Situ Components into Earth system models or other computer systems.

This portfolio includes the Copernicus Marine Environment Monitoring Service (CMEMS), provided by Mercator-Océan; the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS), and the Climate Change Monitoring Service (CCCS), both provided by the European Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF). These services build on the heritage of pre-operational services already established through projects financed by EU research and development framework programmes.

Ultimately, Copernicus data and information services will support a vast array of applications and industries, thereby contributing to economic growth. Among the beneficiaries are regional and local planning, agriculture, fisheries, health, transport, civil protection and tourism.


The Earth observation data and products required by the Copernicus information services need to be collected both by satellite systems and in situ measurement networks. Europe is, therefore, developing Copernicus-dedicated operational Earth observation satellite missions, the so-called Sentinels.


  • implement the Sentinel-4 and Sentinel-5 missions, as part of EUMETSAT Meteosat Third Generation and EPS-Second Generation satellite systems;
  • cooperate with ESA on the development of the Sentinel-3,- 4, -5 and -6 missions.

Copernicus satellites

Copernicus also relies on existing Contributing missions — in particular those of EUMETSAT — and will coordinate the collection from in situ networks through the European Environmental Agency (EEA).

supporting the Copernicus Marine Environment Monitoring Service

The Copernicus Marine Environment Monitoring Service (CMEMS) provides regular and systematic reference information on the state of the physical oceans and regional seas and will further develop operational oceanography in Europe.

The products and forecasts it delivers support four main application areas:

  1. Marine Resources
  2. Marine Safety
  3. Coastal and Marine Environment
  4. Monitoring of sea level rise for climate monitoring.

The ability to monitor and forecast the state of the three-dimensional ocean and its interactions with the atmosphere and the climate system requires an integrated, operational satellite and in situ observing system of the global oceans comparable to the meteorological observing system.

EUMETSAT's Meteosat and EPS/Metop satellite systems and the Jason-2 mission, shared with CNES, NOAA and NASA, are already part of this integrated system. EUMETSAT already provides data and products to the pre-operational Copernicus marine service (MyOcean) and its users. This provision will expand following the launches of Jason-3 Sentinel-3.

Mercator Ocean website

Supporting the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service

The Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS) combines advanced numerical prediction models of the atmosphere with satellite and in situ observations to provide information on air quality, atmospheric composition, the ozone layer, ultraviolet radiation and solar energy, as well as climate forcing by gases and aerosols. The service also supports studies of pollution events and possible response, annual assessments of air quality and the monitoring of greenhouse gases.

EUMETSAT already supports the pre-operational Copernicus service (MACC) through the provision of data and products from the Meteosat and EPS/Metop satellites (e.g. ozone, carbon monoxide) and atmospheric composition products extracted from observations of instruments on board the US Suomi-NPP satellite.

From 2021, EUMETSAT will deliver the Copernicus Sentinel-4 and Sentinel-5 sounding missions dedicated to the monitoring of atmospheric composition from the geostationary and polar orbits. These missions will be implemented as part of Meteosat Third Generation (MTG) and EPS-SG, based on additional instruments flown on the MTG-S and Metop-SG A satellites.

Securing Data Access for all users in EU and EUMETSAT Member States

For the delivery of products from the Copernicus Sentinel-3, -4, -5 and -6 missions, as well as from EUMETSAT and relevant third party missions, EUMETSAT will make optimal use of its existing multi-mission infrastructure.

To meet demanding requirements in terms of timeliness, as well as to deliver Copernicus data and products to all users in the EU and EUMETSAT Member States, EUMETSAT will rely primarily on EUMETCast.

Contributing to the Copernicus Climate Change monitoring Service

The Copernicus Climate Change Service (CCCS) will provide information to increase the knowledge base needed to support adaptation and mitigation policies. In particular, it will contribute to the provision of Essential Climate Variables (ECVs), climate analyses, projections and indicators at temporal and spatial scales relevant for adaptation and mitigation strategies for the various sectoral and societal benefit areas of the EU.

EUMETSAT will contribute through the re-calibration and cross calibration of long series of observations from its satellites — back to 1981 — and by maintaining an inventory of ECVs generated by space agency members of the Committee on Earth Observation Satellites (CEOS).

The SAF network will also deliver Climate Data Records for use in climate services.

Monitoring climate

EUMETSAT Climate Service

Cooperation with ESA on Copernicus

In 2009, ESA and EUMETSAT signed a framework cooperation agreement on the development of the Copernicus Sentinel -3, - 4 and -5. Implementation Arrangements followed for all three Sentinel missions, covering EUMETSAT's contribution to the development of the ground segment of Sentinel-3. In addition, EUMETSAT and ESA have agreed provisions in their Cooperation Agreements on the development of the EUMETSAT MTG and EPS-SG satellite systems for the accommodation of the Sentinel-4 and Sentinel-5 instruments.

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