Sentinel 6

Copernicus: 25 years of European success


Sentinel 6
Sentinel 6

The creation of Copernicus, Europe’s eyes on Earth, in 1998, arose from a pragmatic analysis of the situation but was also a visionary idea that shaped much of the world’s Earth Observation community until today.

Last Updated

19 June 2023

Published on

08 June 2023

In Europe between 1970 and 2021, 166,492 citizens lost their lives and US$562.0 billion were lost, due to 1,784 disasters related to weather, climate and water registered by the WMO.

The creation of Copernicus, Europe’s eyes on Earth, on the shores of Lago Maggiore in 1998, arose from a pragmatic analysis of the situation. With hindsight, it was also a visionary idea that shaped much of the world’s Earth Observation community until today.

Since the beginning of the programme, EUMETSAT has aimed at building synergies between its activities and this EU programme, and played a key role in making sure that the Copernicus data is easily accessible, in a timely way, to all those who need it. EUMETSAT focused its cooperation on areas complementary to meteorology, i.e. on oceans, atmosphere and climate monitoring. More than a cooperation, our involvement in Copernicus together with the European Commission, ESA and the Copernicus services is a real partnership.

Through Copernicus (named GMES at that time), but also via its own satellite programmes that complement those of Copernicus and via programmes co-funded such as Jason-CS, EUMETSAT ensures that Europe has the necessary data to monitor and mitigate the impacts of climate change, as well as to assess the emission of greenhouse gases.

“The importance of a global programme such as Copernicus cannot be underestimated. In an era of climate change challenges, the need for such a global, precise and independent system to monitor the Earth and its environment has never been more crucial to provide clear directions to decision-makers,” explains Phil Evans, Director-General of EUMETSAT.

EUMETSAT’s involvement in Copernicus goes beyond operating Copernicus satellites funded by ESA and the European Union (Sentinel-3 and Sentinel-6). We are also planning to host two Copernicus missions on our own meteorological satellites: Sentinel-4 on the Meteosat Third Generation-Sounders and Sentinel-5 on the Metop-SG satellites. In the future, EUMETSAT will also operate the Copernicus Anthropogenic Carbon Dioxide Monitoring (CO2M) and will develop and deliver products for the Copernicus Imaging Microwave Radiometer (CIMR) and Copernicus Polar Ice and Snow Topography Altimeter (CRISTAL) missions. EUMETSAT has confirmed its willingness to continue to operate the new generations of Sentinel satellites: Sentinel-3 Next Generation TOPO (topography by altimetry), Sentinel-3 Next Generation OPT (Earth optical imaging) and Sentinel-6 Next Generation.

More globally, EUMETSAT co-manages WEkEO, the global Copernicus data and information access service platform, together with the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, the European Environment Agency and Mercator Ocean International. WEkEO offers online access to Copernicus data including all data from Sentinel satellites and the Copernicus marine, land, atmosphere and climate services. WEkEO is a treasure trove of data, enabling journalists, scientists, and anybody interested to browse and extract Copernicus Earth observation information.

Happy anniversary Copernicus!

Copernicus: 25 years of European success

Watch our video Celebrating 25 years of the Copernicus Programme on YouTube.