Copernicus is a European system for monitoring the Earth. Data is collected by different sources, including Earth observation satellites and in-situ sensors. The data is processed and provides reliable and up-to-date information about six thematic areas: land, marine, atmosphere, climate change, emergency management and security. The land theme is divided into four main components:

Global
The Global Land Service provides a series of bio-geophysical products on the status and evolution of the land surface at global scale at mid and low spatial resolution. The products are used to monitor the vegetation, the water cycle and the energy budget.

Pan-European
The pan-European component provides information about the land cover and land use (LC/LU), land cover and land use changes and land cover characteristics. The latter includes information about imperviousness, forests, natural grasslands, wetlands, and permanent water bodies.

Local
The local component focuses on different hotspots, i.e. areas that are prone to specific environmental challenges and problems. This includes detailed LC/LU information for the larger EU cities (Urban Atlas), riparian zones along European river networks and NATURA 2000 sites. It will also include maps of coastal areas.

In-situ
All of the Copernicus services need access to in-situ data in order to ensure an efficient and effective use of Copernicus space-borne data. Next to data provided by participating countries, Earth observation from space also yields pan-European reference datasets, such as a Digital Elevation Model.

The Copernicus Marine Environment Monitoring Service (CMEMS) provides regular and systematic reference information on the physical state, variability and dynamics of the ocean and marine ecosystems for the global ocean and the European regional seas.

The observations and forecasts produced by the service support all marine applications. For instance, the provision of data on currents, winds and sea ice help to improve ship routing services, offshore operations or search and rescue operations, thus contributing to marine safety.
The service also contributes to the protection and the sustainable management of living marine resources in particular for aquaculture, fishery research or regional fishery organisations.
Physical and marine biogeochemical components are useful for water quality monitoring and pollution control. Sea level rise helps to assess coastal erosion. Sea surface temperature is one of the primary physical impacts of climate change and has direct consequences on marine ecosystems.

As a result of this, the service supports a wide range of coastal and marine environment applications. Many of the data delivered by the service (e.g. temperature, salinity, sea level, currents, wind and sea ice) also play a crucial role in the domain of weather, climate and seasonal forecasting.

Some of today’s most important environmental concerns relate to the composition of the atmosphere. The increasing concentration of the greenhouse gases and the cooling effect of aerosol are prominent drivers of a changing climate, but the extent of their impact is often still uncertain.

At the Earth’s surface, aerosols, ozone and other reactive gases such as nitrogen dioxide determine the quality of the air around us, affecting human health and life expectancy, the health of ecosystems and the fabric of the built environment. Ozone distributions in the stratosphere influence the amount of ultraviolet radiation reaching the surface. Dust, sand, smoke and volcanic aerosols affect the safe operation of transport systems and the availability of power from solar generation, the formation of clouds and rainfall, and the remote sensing by satellite of land, ocean and atmosphere.

To address these environmental concerns there is a need for data and processed information. The Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS) has been developed to meet these needs, aiming at supporting policymakers, business and citizens with enhanced atmospheric environmental information.

Copernicus EMS - Mapping provides all actors involved in the management of natural disasters, man-made emergency situations and humanitarian crises, with timely and accurate geospatial information derived from satellite remote sensing and completed by available in situ or open data sources. The information generated by the service can be used as supplied (e.g. as digital or printed map outputs). It may be further combined with other data sources (e.g. as digital feature sets in a geographic information system). In both cases it may support geospatial analysis and decision making processes of emergency managers. Copernicus EMS - Mapping is provided during all phases of the emergency management cycle, in two temporal modes, and free of charge for the users. It can be activated only by authorised users.

The Copernicus Climate Change Service is designed to respond to changes in the environment and society associated with climate change.

The service will provide information for monitoring and predicting climate change and help to support adaptation and mitigation strategies.

It will provide access to several climate indicators (e.g. temperature increase, sea level rise, ice sheet melting, ocean warming) and climate indices (e.g. based on records of temperature, precipitation, drought events) for both the identified climate drivers and the expected climate impacts.