COP26: WEkEO Empowers Scientists and Public Authorities to Address Climate Change
WEkEO enables access to crucial data that will help governments meet the climate pledges made at the COP26 in Glasgow. The platform allows scientists, companies, and policymakers to consult, process and download large amounts of data collected by the Copernicus Programme, the world’s largest Earth observation data provider.
The parties reunited at COP26 agreed on a set of measures to protect the environment and mitigate climate change. Representatives from the Copernicus Programme and its services participated in the conference, highlighting the importance of Earth Observation in the fight against global warming – such a role was recognized in the latest report by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Among the agreed measures, pledges were made to cut methane emissions, protect the oceans as well as stop and reverse deforestation.
The Copernicus Programme supports the global effort against climate change with the Marine, Atmosphere, Climate Change and Land services, which provide a 360-degree view of the world climate through a wide array of datasets such as climate variables and ocean indicators. WEkEO has enabled easy and reliable access to these data with its storage and processing capabilities.
“With a direct link to the data infrastructure of the institutions behind the four Copernicus services focused on environmental data, WEkEO has the potential to support scientists and researchers, entrepreneurs, innovators, decision makers and public authorities,” explains Alain Arnoud, Project Manager of WEkEO at Mercator Ocean International. “The combination of powerful virtual environments and processing tools grant them an enhanced understanding to address climate change and its impact.”
The infrastructure of Copernicus is in continuous development. The six planned Copernicus Sentinel Expansion Missions include new satellites, which will expand the availability of climate data and the role of WEkEO as a gateway to such information. For instance, the CO2M (Copernicus Anthropogenic Carbon Dioxide Monitoring) mission will finally provide the EU with an instrument to measure atmospheric carbon dioxide. The LSTM mission (Copernicus Land Surface Temperature Monitoring) will instead carry out precise observations of land-surface temperature. On 29 November 2021, the first Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich satellite that launched in November 2020 transmitted the first high precision altimetry sea level measurements that will be accessible through WEkEO.