Copernicus is the European Union's Earth Observation Programme coordinated and managed by the European Commission. It offers information services based on satellite Earth Observation and non-space data. This ambitious project is an integral part of implementing the European Green Deal and global efforts, such as the Paris Agreement, aiming at mitigating climate change.
Copernicus services deliver comparable datasets and time series ensuring that trends and changes are constantly monitored. By analyzing patterns, Copernicus services are used to create better forecasts of, for example, the atmosphere and the ocean. ICOS works closely with Copernicus and shares data which is used by national weather services or private companies to improve air-pollution predictions. Moreover, ICOS data helps Copernicus to develop other data products, such as maps of fossil fuel emissions.
In the last week of June, European scientists and representatives of EU Member States met virtually to discuss the future of a Copernicus carbon dioxide monitoring service (CoCO2). As a follow-up of the Carbon Dioxide Human Emissions (CHE) project, CoCO2 will provide a prototype system further developing carbon dioxide emission monitoring capabilities. Leading the Work Package “Observations”, ICOS will take an important role in this new project. The Work Package includes, for example, in-situ atmosphere observations, ground-based remote sensing measurements and observations for transport model evaluation. In this way, ICOS will provide reference data for the quality assessment of satellite-based products and models developed in CoCO2.
This essential work will add value to what scientists know about monitoring carbon dioxide emissions. Although satellites and in-situ instruments already measure changes in the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, differentiating between human carbon emissions and a natural variability of atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations remains very difficult. Through projects like CoCO2, Copernicus and ICOS will jointly improve the quality of Earth Observation and non-space data to fight climate change and support the scientific community in their research.