Copernicus Programme by ESA

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : Jun 2, 2022, 13:37

We live in a world characterised by vast environmental challenges. Efforts should be made to tackle the effects of global warming, the problems created by overpopulation and overconsumption, and the depletion of natural resources.

The Copernicus Programme helps us to achieve this.

What is the Copernicus Programme?

The Copernicus Programme observes our environment, collects, stores, and analyses data, and provides products to enable us to take effective decisions regarding tackling issues that lead to depletion of resources and other effects of global warming. Different stakeholders brought together the programme in the European Union.

Copernicus monitors the Earth and the ecosystems on the planet while ensuring that its inhabitants are prepared for and protected against crises - both natural and man-made.

Copernicus information services are based on data from Sentinels. These are a group of 6 families of satellites and dozens of third-party satellites known as "contributing space missions".

They operate alone at times and, at other times, combine with sensors placed on the seas, land, or air. Copernicus then stores the data and helps provide a large amount of reliable and up-to-date information on the status of our planet.

Services Provided by the Copernicus Programme

  • Its mission includes essential interrelated themes, incorporating six sets of services: Atmosphere Monitoring, Marine environment monitoring, land monitoring, climate change, emergency management, and security that translate into concrete and effective areas of applications.
  • With regards to the environment, Copernicus detects the content of aerosols that destroys the ozone layer, analysing atmospheric composition and biodiversity.
  • It is regularly evaluating the melting of the polar ice cap in the Arctic due to temperature increases due to global warming.
  • It determines the quality of air and water that affects our health; it monitors ocean levels, coastal areas, and forests to limit the damage from the threat of earthquakes, floods, and fires to ensure our safety.
  • In the energy sector, Copernicus promotes the use of hydraulic and wind power plants, promising clean and eco-friendly alternatives to fossil fuels. This will allow renewable energy to account for up to 27% of our total energy consumption by 2030.
  • Serving the marine world, Copernicus tracks marine pollution affecting aquatic ecosystems and the fishing industry as part of a development cooperation policy.
  • Copernicus warns of early signs of deforestation and desertification to avoid the problem of loss of biodiversity and food shortages.
  • It oversees the irrigation of fields and monitors crops for better food management.
  • It is also instrumental in tracking outbreaks of diseases, such as EBOLA in West Africa. Further to these examples, Copernicus can serve the tourism industry, urban development, archaeology, oil and gas, and the insurance sector.
  • It is an amazing tool that is efficient, open to all, free of charge, and constantly evolving - and this will always be the case.
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India's Collaboration with Copernicus Programme

In 2018, the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) signed an agreement on sharing data from satellites. Highlights of this agreement are as follows:

  • ESA will share the data from Sentinel satellites free of cost with their Indian counterparts, and in return, India will share data from its multiple satellites, which are dedicated to the observation of land, ocean, and atmosphere.
  • The main aim of this collaboration is to gather space-based information, majorly forecasting disasters.
  • The designated Indian Institutions will not only have access to the data derived from Europe's Six Sentinel satellites mentioned above but also from the other space agencies which are a part of the Copernicus Programme.
  • India will be liable to provide access to ISRO's atmospheric satellites to the participating countries.

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FAQs on Copernicus Programme

Q1. Briefly explain the Copernicus Programme.

Copernicus Programme is an Earth observation programme by the European Union. It is primarily managed by the European Commission in collaboration with ESA, EU agencies, and the EU Member States.

Q2. In the Copernicus Programme, what are the information services based on?

In the Copernicus Programme, information services are based on data from a constellation of 6 families of satellites, known as the "Sentinels", and dozens of third-party satellites known as "contributing space missions".

Q3. In the Copernicus Programme, what are the Sentinels?

Sentinel is a family of satellites developed by the European Space Agency (ESA) to help in the operational requirements of the Copernicus Programme.

Q4. When did India collaborate with the Copernicus Programme?

In 2018, the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) signed an agreement on sharing data from the satellites under the Copernicus Programme.