OBSERVER: did you know that Copernicus data and products support these sectors?
Copernicus services support a wide range of applications by transforming satellite and in-situ data into valuable information streamlined across six thematic areas: land, marine, atmosphere, climate change, emergency management, and security. From supporting the safe transport of gas in the North Sea to understanding the impact of climate variations on bird migration, Copernicus is a valuable tool for society, providing solutions in various application domains.
Aside from the best-known products and datasets developed by the Copernicus Services, Copernicus data have many other useful, and sometimes surprising, applications. Let’s explore some unfamiliar use cases of Copernicus that foster uptake in less targeted sectors.
Copernicus contributes to the safe transport of gas in the North Sea
Submarine cables have been identified as an emerging blue economy sector in the EU Blue economy report 2021. These cables serve a vital function, ensuring that data, telecommunication, and power transmission connections are possible, both within the EU and between the EU and third countries.
The Copernicus Services provide data that help improve the estimation of seabed temperatures in support of the sector. For example, GASSCO, a company responsible for safe and efficient gas transportation from the Norwegian continental shelf to other European countries, utilises data generated from the Copernicus Services to accurately estimate the capacity of pipelines as part of its Pipex project. What makes Copernicus data essential in this use case is that seabed temperature is an important factor when calculating the transportation capacity in a subsea gas pipeline; the capacity of the pipeline in terms of gas volume is nearly directly proportional to seabed temperature.
Data in use: Copernicus Marine Service (CMEMS) sub-surface temperature (in depth, down to 3000m)
Forecasting allergy symptoms with Copernicus
Did you know that Copernicus data can help forecast when your allergies will cause trouble?
Allergies triggered by airborne allergens, such as pollen, are becoming more and more common, affecting the daily lives of people across Europe. Such allergies are exacerbated by extreme weather and climate change. Forecasts of pollen levels, combined with information on air quality and meteorological conditions provided by the Copernicus Services, enabled researchers from the Medical University of Vienna, Šiauliai University (Lithuania), and the Finnish Meteorological Institute to develop a tool that provides daily forecasts of allergy symptoms to its users. PASYFO (Personal Allergy Symptom Forecasting System) uses Copernicus data as its main input and allows users in Latvia and Lithuania to receive location-specific probability of manifestation of allergy symptoms, allowing them to take the necessary preventive measures.
Product in use: Forecasts of pollen levels, air quality and meteorological conditions from the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS)
Copernicus supports the use of biopesticides in agriculture
Biopesticides have been developed as a sustainable alternative to conventional chemical pesticides, which often come with a wide range of environmental, ecological and health problems. BioSuccess is a project which aims to increase confidence in, and uptake of, biopesticides in agriculture. The tool deploys Copernicus data to allow users to estimate the time it would take for a biopesticide to control insect populations in specific scenarios, and hence the latest date that a biopesticide could be applied whilst still being effective.
To achieve this, BioSuccess combines Copernicus temperature data with biological models of insect development and biopesticide efficacy. It estimates the ‘time-to-kill’ based on location and time of application, using climate data from individual years to show where applications will be most efficient. This feature can encourage more and more farmers to make biopesticides part of their toolbox, supporting sustainable growth in agriculture and enhancing food security, all whilst protecting the environment from potentially harmful chemical substances.
Copernicus data in support of the brewing sector
Among the many sectors that benefit from the use of Copernicus data, the beer industry could perhaps be considered as one of the least evident. Indeed, Copernicus data offer environmental and business development opportunities to the agricultural sector, nature organisations, industry and companies that provide drinking water or whose critical business resource is water, including breweries.
In a joint project with the University of Wageningen, the Heineken brewery used Copernicus data to monitor and analyse the impact of climate change on water quality and supply, and consequently on the brewery’s beer production, enhancing its efforts to become climate neutral. These data were used to prioritise sites with the highest climate change impacts and to understand how climate change affects production conditions for barley and hops in the most important source areas. Combining satellite observations with meteorological data and other biophysical analyses to anticipate droughts and floods enables better water resource management. You can read more about this unusual use case here.
Data in use: Copernicus Climate Change Service data
Copernicus data in a “cup of coffee”
Guatemala’s coffee growing areas, stretching across the Dry Corridor, have been severely impacted by droughts and irregular rainfalls, which have led to a significant decrease in grain production due to the spreading of rust across the coffee plantations. The coffee flower blossom requires moisture at the beginning of the rainy season (May-June). As such, high temperatures, below-average rainfall and extended dry spells affect crops, with severe consequences to the local economy.
The Copernicus programme offers a series of qualified bio-geophysical products on the status and evolution of the land surface, complemented by the creation of long-term time series. The products are used to monitor the impact of dry soils on coffee plant growth and health, providing local communities with vital solutions.
 The Dry Corridor stretches from southern Guatemala into northern Honduras and El Salvador.
Understanding the impact of climate change on birds with Copernicus data
Due to their sensitivity to changes in the environment, birds are considered sentinel species which allow the detection of environmental hazards, providing an early warning for different threats such as pollution, habitat quality, or emerging diseases. Based on the migratory behaviour of such birds and Copernicus data, the Bird Migration Storytelling Tool demonstrates the long-term spatial effects of climate variations on migratory birds. Copernicus datasets allow users to quantify, map and communicate the responses of migratory birds to climate variations at the European level and beyond. Different climate data products (i.e., air temperature, precipitation, air temperature anomalies, wind speed and direction) have been used to measure the environmental factors modulating bird behaviour. Through a visual storytelling tool, the project aims to inform and support policymakers and raise awareness of the effects of climate change and the power and range of climate data available to inform decision-making. You can navigate the storytelling tool here.
Data and products in use: Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) datasets and climate data products provided by ECMWF.
Whether more predictable or unusual, these use cases demonstrate the range of applications that Copernicus data and products enable. From providing sustainable alternatives in agriculture to helping deal with allergy symptoms, the Copernicus component of the EU Space Programme offers solutions to various societal problems, improving citizens’ daily lives.