Due to predicted outage for S3B for OLCI S09 Calibration, OLCIproducts degradation is expected for sensing time from 15/06/2022T09:06:13 to 15/06/2022T09:07:23.

How the Copernicus Sentinels are fuelling a surge in ground-breaking scientific research that is enriching society and benefiting the environment was highlighted last month at the Living Planet Symposium.

According to figures presented by ESA at the conference, the number of peer reviewed publications that drew on data delivered by the satellites rose from around 100 in 2015 to more than 3200 in 2021.

This sharp increase means that the Copernicus Sentinels are now resulting in a similar number of academic papers as the US-led Landsat missions, the world’s longest running remote sensing programme. 

Copernicus Sentinels fuel surge in scientific research

Synergy in focus

The growing influence of data delivered by Europe’s flagship Earth observation programme was emphasized at a series of science presentations held at the symposium, many of which demonstrated the value of combining information from different missions.

An Italian team of scientists, for instance, explored how Copernicus Sentinel-5P and Copernicus Sentinel-2 data could be used to monitor a volcano in Italy called Stromboli, which poses a significant threat to local communities when active. 

Levels of sulphur dioxide – often associated with eruptions – were tracked by the atmosphere-monitoring satellite’s TROPOMI instrument. These data were analysed together with Copernicus Sentinel-2 observations, which provided contextual information about Stromboli’s activity, to investigate the behaviour of the volcano.

In a separate project, researchers at the University of Bordeaux used data from several Copernicus Sentinel missions to monitor an impermanent river in Namibia, which is a vital resource for communities that live in the arid landscape through which it flows.

Using radar data from Copernicus Sentinel-1 and imagery from Copernicus Sentinel-2, the scientists set out to explore the dynamics of the river and how it replenishes nearby channels that are hidden under surface sediment

In future research, it is expected that data from Copernicus Sentinel-3 on river water level and soil moisture will be used to complement these insights.

Global cooperation

Copernicus Sentinel data are also being combined with information delivered by institutional missions from around the world.

A series of presentations at the Living Planet Symposium focused on collaboration with the US-led Landsat programme, which has been providing continuous space-borne observations of the environment for 50 years.

The launch of the Copernicus Sentinel-2 satellites in 2015 and 2017 created an unprecedented opportunity for synergy with Landsat and, since then, the development and delivery of harmonized datasets which draw on imagery from the missions has been a key priority for the Earth observation community.

By providing detailed, continuous impressions of Earth’s surface with high temporal resolutions, these data are supporting numerous innovative applications, both in research and the development of operational products and services.

Scientists in Europe and the US are now working to further validate and calibrate the combined datasets, as well as preparing for the harmonisation of imagery from future Copernicus Sentinel and Landsat satellites.

New possibilities

In addition, ESA’s Third Party Missions programme – which disseminates data delivered from numerous international missions – is opening up new possibilities for synergy with Copernicus Sentinel data.

Announced as a Third Party Mission during the Living Planet Symposium, Canadian remote sensing constellation GHGSat delivers high-resolution information on greenhouse gas emissions from industrial facilities across the world.

Copernicus Sentinel-5P maps these gases on a wider scale, identifying regions of the world with increased emissions. In the future, GHGSat could be used to zoom in on these areas to reveal individual point sources, such as oil and gas wells.

Addressing global challenges

The symposium also highlighted the continued contributions of Copernicus Sentinel data to the Copernicus Services, which are helping policymakers combat key environmental and societal challenges.

Copernicus Sentinel-3, for example, delivers data on sea surface topography, sea and land surface temperature, and ocean and land surface colour, supporting ocean forecasting, and environment and climate monitoring.

The Copernicus Sentinels are supporting the ongoing expansion of the Copernicus Services.

Earlier this year, information from Copernicus Sentinel-1 was used to create the first dataset delivered by the European Ground Motion Service, a new activity that provides information on movements of Earth’s surface, such as slow-moving landslides and subsidence due to mining or water extraction.

An update of the Copernicus Sentinel-5 Precursor (S5p) operational ground-processing system is planned by mid-July 2022. This includes changes in the algorithms and product format for all products. The main impact on the data products of the processors upgrade is:

  • L1b Radiance degradation correction (the Irradiance degradation correction was already in place).

  • Usage of a Directional surface Lambertian Equivalent Reflectivity (DLER) database based on TROPOMI data, replacing OMI LER (for NO2 and O3 Profile) and GOME LER (for ALH).

  • CO product:

    • The unit of the column_averaging_kernel has changed from metres to unitless.

    • Inclusion of a priori profiles in the output product.

  • AAI product: a new wavelength pair using 335 and 367 nm to perform an aerosol index calculation has been added.

  • Updates of the correction factors to account for the radiance degradation correction of the updated L1b, mainly affecting CLOUD and Ozone Near Real Time (NRT).

  • Updated the CLOUD neural networks for clear-sky and cloudy

More details on the algorithm updates and format changes are available to the user community, together with sample data.

Full detailed information will be provided within the Product Readme Files after the operational switch.

Another news will be published when the precise date for the update is established. Please note that NRT products for data acquired during the downtime period will be not generated. After the successful deployment of the new system, version numbers of the first orbit generated with the new version of the S5p operational processors both, in NRT and OFFL, will be provided.

Sentinel-1 performs systematic acquisition of bursts in both IW and EW modes. The bursts overlap almost perfectly between different passes and are always located at the same place. With the deployment of the SAR processor S1-IPF 3.4, a new element has been added to the products annotations: the Burst ID, which should help the end user to identify a burst area of interest and facilitate searches. Now, we publish complementary auxiliary products, the Burst ID maps. The maps have a validity that covers the entire time span of the mission and they are global, i.e., they include as well information where no SAR data is acquired. Each entry of the database contains information about burst and sub-swath IDs, relative orbit and burst polygon, and should allow for an easier link between a certain burst ID in a product and its corresponding geographic location.

The maps are public and can be freely downloaded here:

The content is provided in sqlite3/spatialite binary (one per mode) and KMZ (one per mode and relative orbit number) formats. Additionally, a README file gives a description of the information provided by the maps, as well as information on the validation procedure and quality statistics.

For questions, please contact Copernicus EO Support from the main page of the Copernicus Open Access Hub. The questions will be forwarded to the SAR- Mission Performance Cluster Service.

Europe’s growing family of Copernicus Sentinel missions is helping to advance the EU’s ambition of reaching carbon neutrality by 2050, according to Simon Jutz, Head of the Copernicus Space Office at ESA.

The environmental data delivered by these missions are powering the development of low-carbon applications across society and helping governments act to reduce the impacts of the climate crisis.

This is accelerating a green transformation for the European economy, continued Jutz, who was delivering an address on the future of the EU’s Copernicus Programme at ESA’s Living Planet Symposium last month.

The current suite of Copernicus Sentinels consists of six missions and one precursor mission designed to use a range of technologies – such as radar and multi-spectral imaging instruments – to monitor different aspects of Earth’s environment, including the land, oceans and atmosphere. Five of these missions are currently in orbit, with the remainder planned for launch in the coming years.

Copernicus Sentinel family

Data delivered by the Copernicus Sentinels are fed into the Copernicus Services, which are already helping Europe to combat challenges such as food insecurity, natural disasters, climate change, to name just a few.

However, the planned expansion of the Copernicus Sentinel family will be key to fulfilling Europe’s long-term sustainability goals, said Jutz.

ESA is currently developing six Copernicus Sentinel Expansion missions on behalf of the EU, which are intended to support European policy and fill gaps in Copernicus user needs.

These include the Copernicus Carbon Dioxide Monitoring mission (CO2M), which will reduce current uncertainties in estimates of emissions of carbon dioxide from the combustion of fossil fuel at national and regional scales, providing decision-makers with a reliable source of information that will help Europe meet its decarbonisation aims.

In addition, data delivered by the Copernicus Sentinels is complemented by numerous missions known as Copernicus Contributing Missions, ensuring that a comprehensive set of Earth observation data is delivered to the user community.

Jutz said: “The Copernicus Sentinels have made key contributions to Europe’s green objectives. Copernicus Sentinel-5P, for instance, uses its TROPOMI instrument to deliver global information on the distribution of planet-warming gases, helping industry and government take action to cut these emissions.

“Innovative space-borne technology developed as part of the Copernicus Expansion Missions – including CO2M – is set to continue these efforts, supporting Europe’s goal of becoming climate neutral by 2050.”

Entitled "The Copernicus Programme – Looking Back, Going Forward", the session took place at the Living Planet Symposium in Bonn on 24 May 2022.

Further to the news published on 20 May, ESA recalls the opportunity for Copernicus Sentinel data users to provide feedback on its services with an online survey. Your feedback will help improve the range and quality of the data and services offered.

Complete the survey by 5 June 2022.

Thank you for sharing your feedback.

Due to predicted outage for S3A for OLCI S09 Calibration, OLCI products degradation is expected for sensing time from 05/06/2022T09:04:23 to 05/06/2022T09:05:33.

A maintenance activity on the core infrastructure hosting the data hub services, is planned on the following days:

  • Monday 06/06/2022 from 06:00 to 16:00 UTC

  • Tuesday 07/06/2022 from 06:00 to 16:00 UTC

During this period, service interruptions and publication delay for all Copernicus Sentinel-1,Sentinel-2 and Sentinel-3 products, might occasionally occur on the following hubs:

The Sentinel-5P Pre-Operations Data Hub will not be affected by the maintenance.

We apologize for any inconvenience this might cause to your activities.

We are pleased to publish the seventh Copernicus Sentinel Data Access Annual Report.

This report for 2021 follows directly on from the 2020 report, and analyses the uptake of Copernicus Sentinel data and the performance of the Sentinel Data Access System during the period 1 December 2020 to 30 November 2021 (referred to as Y2021).

By the end of the reporting period, the Sentinel Data Access System was supporting over 490,000 registered users, a daily publication rate of almost 33,000 user-level data/day, and an average daily download volume of 203 TiB. A total of 491 million user-level data had been downloaded by users since the start of data access operations, consisting of a total data volume of 320 PiB (80.5 PiB of them was downloaded during Y2021 alone). The report provides the detailed statistics behind these numbers, as well as examining the demographics of users, the status of agreements with collaborative and international partners, the challenges and solutions found by the Data Access Operations team in publishing and disseminating such huge volumes of data and evolving the System to cope with them, and the outlook for the future.

The 2021 Copernicus Sentinel Data Access Annual Report is available here.

A freely accessible remote sensing analysis platform whose user base has continued to expand since its launch 2014 is expected to reach one million downloads during this week’s Living Planet Symposium, according to the ESA engineers that oversee the tool’s operation and development.

This comes as they finalise an updated version of the virtual tool, slated for release next week.

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If you have a good story to tell, of how any of the Sentinel satellites are producing data that bring benefit to your work and/or to society, please contact the Sentinel Online Editors at: with your proposals.