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Climate and Energy



The temperature – and therefore, the health – of our planet is the result of a delicate balance of phenomena, such as the movement of ocean currents, the transformation of carbon as it travels between land, sea and air, and the amount of sunlight absorbed or refl ected by the Earth’s surface. But the balance can easily be disrupted, as we are realising with increasing concern.


The international community agrees that human reliance on burning fossil fuels for energy is considered to be one of the causes of global climate change, and on the other hand, we face a looming energy crisis as the threat of peak oil approaches.


The European Union has made action on climate and energy a clear priority, and has committed to ensuring that renewable sources make up 20% of total EU energy consumption by 2020, and 27% by 20305. Copernicus supports these priorities by monitoring our changing climate, helping us to prepare for and respond to its eff ects (adaptation), and facilitating the effective use of renewable resources (mitigation).


Wind, a proven source of clean, affordable energy, will play a key role in reaching this binding target. The sun is also an amazing source of sustainable renewable energy: Deserts get more energy from the sun in one day than mankind consumes in one year. Copernicus can support the efficient exploitation of these renewable energies, which will help to meet the growing global energy demands without increasing CO2 emissions.


For instance, the Copernicus Marine Environment Monitoring Service provides information relevant to offshore wind farms, such as wind speed, wind fields and wave size and frequency. These parameters are crucial in determining where wind energy can be generated in the most cost-effective way whilst reducing the risks of damage.


Another example is the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service, which monitors the atmospheric conditions having an impact on the solar radiations that reach the Earth surface and provides the solar energy sector and public authorities with suitable and accurate information for a better management of solar energy.



Wind power density (Watts per m2) over the
surface of Belgium at 100 m above ground level

(Credits: 3E)

Monthly pictures of Artic sea ice for several months
in 2012, current record low of summer sea ice extent

(Credits: PolarView/University of Bremen)



Application examples: