The European Union launched a Space Strategy in 2016. Late 2020, the Council urged for a stronger space policy and stressed the need for technological non-dependence with an effective role in the global space economy. Europe is working towards a fully integrated space programme spanning 2021-2027, relying on upstream and downstream European enterprises and solutions.
Establishing the right synergies between space technologies, Climate Action and Environment, research, innovation and industry, is the gateway for other new areas of innovation contributing to a green economy and greener planet.
Here we showcase current state of the art in areas using the most advanced research and innovation space assets and data, generating essential services. To mention a few – climate modelling, environmental monitoring or natural risk management raise awareness on its benefit and direct impact on citizens life and the economy. Moreover, other initiatives or businesses contributing to climate action at large, are also included.
The European Space Agency (ESA) is Europe’s gateway to space. An international organisation with 22 Member States and a world-leader in Earth observation, dedicated to develop cutting-edge spaceborne technology to further understand the planet, improve daily lives, support effect policy-making for a more sustainable future, and benefit businesses and the economy
What is ESA – what it delivers to citizens of Europe
Space for climate
The scientific evidence of global climate change is irrefutable. The consequences of a warming climate are far-reaching – affecting freshwater resources, global food production, sea level and triggering an increase in extreme-weather events. To tackle climate change, scientists and governments need reliable data in order to understand how our planet is changing.
Young Graduate Trainee experience in Vega and Space Rider
With the launch of the 2021 Young Graduate Trainee recruitment campaign, ESA have been talking to some of their current YGTs about the work they do, to give a glimpse of life at ESA and an idea of the range of opportunities currently on offer.
Curiosities about space and astronaut’s life
ESA astronaut Matthias Maurer is preparing for his mission to the International Space Station, scheduled for launch in late 2021, this mission is known as Cosmic Kiss. Check the Astronaut vlog: space food and fitness
Space for economy
ESA supports economic growth by enabling new innovations for everyday life, which create high-quality jobs in the space industry and beyond. It helps to develop new technologies for a competitive economy and strengthens European industry. The European Space Agency invests in space to improve life on Earth.
The European Environment Agency (EEA) is an agency of the European Union, whose task is to provide sound, independent information on the environment. The EEA aims to support sustainable development by helping to achieve significant and measurable improvement in Europe’s environment, through the provision of timely, targeted, relevant and reliable information to policy-making agents and the public.
The European Environment Agency has a unique position on the interface between policy, information and science.
The GSA’s mission is to link space to user needs and to achieve the highest return on European Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) investment in terms of benefits to users and EU economic growth and competitiveness.
To achieve this, the GSA manages the Galileo and EGNOS programmes and carries out work in various areas targeted at Security, Research and Development and increasing space’s Contribution to the EU Market.
Copernicus is a European programme for constant monitoring the state and health of planet Earth. This Earth Observation programme, built on a constellation of satellites, helps observing the environment, collecting, storing and analysing data to enable decisions to be made.
It is part of a public service framework with full and open access to all data collected.
Copernicus is the most advanced Earth observation system in the world
What is the Copernicus Programme?
What are the benefits of the Copernicus programme?
How does space impact in our lives?
Europe’s own Global Satellite-based Navigation System (GNSS), providing highly accurate global positioning data. It also provides Europe and European citizens with independence and sovereignty, an array of environmental benefits and several new services specific to the Galileo programme (Open Service, Commercial Service, Search and Rescue).
What is GALILEO?
Does GALILEO replace GPS?
EGNOS is essential for applications where accuracy and integrity are critical. The European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS) is Europe’s regional satellite-based augmentation system (SBAS) that is used to improve the performance of global navigation satellite systems (GNSSs), such as GPS and Galileo.
Provides safety critical navigation services to aviation, maritime and land-based users over Europe.
EGNOS -how does it work?
EGNOS – Europe’s first venture int he world of satellite navigation.
Thales Alenia Space design, operate and deliver satellite-based systems that help them position and connect anyone or anything, everywhere, help observe our planet, help optimize the use of our planet’s – and our solar system’s – resources. Thales Alenia Space believes in space as humankind’s new horizon, which will enable to build a better, more sustainable life on Earth.
The LSA SAF (Satellite Application Facility on Land Surface Analysis) is part of the distributed EUMETSAT (European Organization for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites) Application Ground Segment. It is focused on the development and processing of satellite products that characterize the continental surfaces, such as radiation products, vegetation, evapotranspiration and wild fires.
The aim of the LSA SAF is to take full advantage of remotely sensed data on land, land-atmosphere interactions and biosphere applications.
Citizen Science for Climate Action
Grow Observatory is a Citizens’ Observatory that has empowered people and whole communities to take action on soils and climate across Europe. GROW has ground-truthed Sentinel-1 to improve the accuracy of predictions on extreme events, such as flood, drought and wildfire.
It is a collective work and contribution to act and take action on climate, build better soil, grow healthier food, and validate the new generation of Copernicus satellites
Forest Flux will renew forestry value added services in Earth Observation (EO) by creating and piloting cloud-based services for committed users on forest carbon assimilation and structural variable prediction. The services utilize using Copernicus satellite data.
POREWIT solves problems related to the lack of efficiency of environmental compliance and risk assessment monitoring methods in the forestry sector. The service provides specific types of benefit for stakeholders involved in the forestry sector. Governmental, NGOs and local communities can use POREWIT as a tool to implement analysis of forest status and produce reports.
This project integrates and improves existing solutions coupling satellite imagery with in-field sensors to increase resolution and reliability of satellite information applied to all aspects of viticulture and specific wine-business operations
NextLand is an alliance of 5 Earth Observation providers that collaborate to offer the cutting-edge of EO technology. By developing 15 land management services based on GEOSS and Copernicus data. 100% co-created – all on a single platform with a single point of contact. The Next Generation Land Management services for Agriculture and Forestry are fully scalable across the globe – helping farmers to cultivate their gains where it matters most.
VISCA provides climate services and a Decision Support System (DSS) that integrate climate, agricultural models with farmers’ management specifications in order to design short practices, medium- and long-term adaptation strategies to climate change. The project was validated by real demonstrations with end-users on three demo sites in Spain, Italy and Portugal.
Climate change is causing new patterns in climatic conditions over the world, which are already affecting many aspects of our society. The MED-GOLD aims to translate state-of-the-art climate data and climate predictions — at the seasonal timescale and beyond — into easily accessible, valuable information for a wide range of end-users in the agriculture sector.
Sogrape is a family-owned wine company, with a strong international presence and unique diversity. Their purpose is to bring happiness and friendship to everyone we interact with through our great wines.
A never-ending focus on research has allowed Sogrape to create original solutions which boost innovation, efficiency and effectiveness in the organisation’s production and commercial process.
Fregata Space uses current Big Data and Machine Learning techniques and technologies that make it possible to transform satellite images into high-resolution information with high predictive value. This incredibly increases the offer of services at lower prices for companies that until now could not access them. The project for Monitoring and Collection of plastic on the Coasts consists in developing a SaaS platform for real-time monitoring of plastic on the coasts. It aims for the creation of a circular economy to encourage plastic recycling through auctions.
Ocean Colour can be assessed by satellite remote sensing, it measures the concentration of the pigment chlorophyll a, which is the biomass proxy for phytoplankton. Phytoplankton are microscopic photosynthetic organisms which are the basis of oceanic trophic chain and produce ca half of the oxygen of total Earth primary productivity. Phytoplankton are constituted by cells of different taxonomic groups, with different dimensions and ecological requirements, with a rapid turnover rate, hence responding to climate change drivers in measurable temporal scales.
Ocean Colour is an Essential Climate Variable (ECV). What is an ECV? Essential climate variable definition:
Amenable to remote sensing: global perspective
Targets a key property of marine ecosystem.
The Green component of the Blue Planet (the only marine ECV that probes the “Living” part of the Living Planet)
Ocean Colour Climate Change Initiative
This project focuses on the Ocean Colour ECV encompassing water-leaving radiance in the visible domain, derived chlorophyll and inherent optical properties and utilises data archives from Copernicus, ESA, NASA and NOAA.
The Ocean Colour Climate Change Initiative project aims to:
• Develop and validate algorithms to meet the Ocean Colour GCOS ECV requirements for consistent, stable, error-characterised global satellite data products from multi-sensor data archives.
• Produce and validate, within an R&D context, the most complete and consistent possible time series of multi-sensor global satellite data products for climate research and modelling.
• Optimise the impact of MERIS data on climate data records
• Generate complete specifications for an operational production system.
• Strengthen inter-disciplinary cooperation between international Earth observation, climate research and modelling communities, in pursuit of scientific excellence.
Nowadays, climate change is one of the most pressing issues for the human society and satellite radar altimetry plays an essential role in the monitoring of the sea level change, a crucial climate change indicator. In Portugal, the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Porto (FCUP) has maintained its unique position in supporting the study of sea level change through a research group dedicated to this remote sensing technique.
The research conducted by the FCUP Satellite Altimetry group has been developed in the scope of various projects funded mainly by the European Space Agency and EUMETSAT, over more than a decade, such as the Climate Change Initiative (CCI) Sea Level.
To perform an accurate sea level measurement by means of satellite altimetry, additional parameters are required, such as those related with the radar signal propagation effects in the troposphere that introduce a path delay in the altimetric measurements.
The development of methodologies to compute an improved wet tropospheric correction, that accounts for the effect of the atmospheric water vapour in the altimeter observations, has been a main topic of research at FCUP. This correction is required to derive accurate sea levels from satellite altimeter observations, particularly in coastal and inland water regions.
This research has been focused on the main altimetric satellites and in particular on the Copernicus Sentinel-3 and Sentinel-6 missions. Moreover, some members of this group are part of the Sentinel-3 Validation Team (S3VT) and Sentinel-6 Validation Team (S6VT).
By providing better tropospheric corrections, this group contributes to improve the altimetric products from these missions, enabling a precise monitoring of the sea level rise from satellite altimetry. Thus, the answer of this space technique to the climate crisis is more and more reliable, since a better accuracy will foster a better monitoring of the climate changes and, consequently, promote the assessment of their impacts.
This way, this Portuguese team contributes to the Portugal’s role on climate science, looking at our planet from Space, namely in the scope of the Copernicus programme.
EU-PolarNet 2 is the world’s largest consortium of polar research expertise and infrastructures, composed by 25 partners representing all European Member States and Associated Countries. The ambition of EU-PolarNet 2 is to establish a sustainable and inclusive platform to co-develop and advance European Polar research actions and to give evidence-based advice to policymaking processes.
Fibersail is a shape sensing system based on FBG fiber optic research to monitor and analyse windmill blades in terms of shape, condition and behavior. The real-time information provided will help wind turbine operators to maximize performance and availability while preventing failures and maintenance costs from their windmills.
Verifying green house gas emissions to support countries’ emissions reporting. The emissions are estimated based on land, ocean and atmospheric observations. The project focuses on the three major greenhouse gases responsible for global warming: carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O).
This EIP-AGRI project seeks to contribute to minimising the impact of by-products and agro-industrial effluents on soil and water.
It comprises several strands of work, including using agricultural by-products to obtain ingredients for animal feed; reducing/eliminating the use of antibiotics in animal feed; creating biomaterials for bioplastic films.
(ADDLAP + IPV)
A 4-year project (2020-24) that will improve our understanding of how and where Land Based Mitigation Technologies can be most effectively deployed. This project will bring together stakeholders, Earth observation technology and computer modelling to estimate the global realistic potential of the Earth’s land surface in absorbing additional carbon from the atmosphere.
This work will help Governments identify suitable LMTs for their countries and quantify their impact.