The European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT), the European Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) and Mercator Ocean have combined their expertise to launch the WEkEO Copernicus Data and Information Access Service (www.wekeo.eu).
WEkEO was launched at Baveno, Lake Maggiore, Italy, during celebrations for the 20th anniversary of the birth of the EU’s flagship environment monitoring programme, Copernicus, on 20-21 June, 2018. “WEkEO offers Copernicus Data for free download including all data from Sentinel satellites, contributing missions and the Copernicus marine, land, atmosphere and climate services,” EUMETSAT Director of Technical and Scientific Support Yves Buhler said. “It features cloud–based hosted processing and tools allowing users to transform the data and services to meet their specific needs. And, crucially, it offers user support and training, capitalising on the recognized expertise of EUMETSAT, the ECMWF and Mercator Ocean.”
The three partners rely on the European IT industry and the latest available technology to implement WEkEO. WEkEO’s strength relies on its distributed infrastructure providing users with the most up-to-date Copernicus data and a continually expanding offer in the future.
The Copernicus Programme monitors the state and health of our planet by observing our environment, collecting, storing and analysing data and providing products to enable effective decisions to be made. The European Commission has launched a new initiative called DIAS to provide a single access point to all Copernicus data and information, alongside processing resources, tools and other relevant data.
The name WEkEO (pronounced [wikio]) gives a nod to the Wikipedia reference portal and the idea of a collaborative platform where the first syllable “WE” represents the three centres (EUMETSAT, ECMWF and MERCATOR OCEAN) together with all WEkEO’s users. It also refers to the WEkEO platform’s distributed architecture. The letter “k” is synonymous of knowledge here. Finally, “EO” stands for “Earth Observation” and for “Environment Observatory”. WEkEO’s strength relies on its distributed infrastructure built thanks to the Copernicus organisation already in place in the three centres: infrastructure and data from the three centres are not duplicated but linked together, reducing costs for the European taxpayer and avoiding the need for new energy-consuming infrastructure.
This approach enables users to work directly with the most up-to-date Copernicus data instead of having to rely on copied, archived datasets. Finally, this federative approach can be extended to other selected external partners, so the system has the potential to continually grow and expand in the future.
About the Partners
The European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT) is an intergovernmental organisation based in Darmstadt, Germany, currently with 30 Member States. EUMETSAT operates the geostationary (Meteosat) satellites and Polar (Metop) satellites as part of the Initial Joint Polar System (IJPS) shared with the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). EUMETSAT is also a partner in the cooperative high-precision ocean altimetry Jason missions involving Europe and the United States (Jason satellites). EUMETSAT has been entrusted by the European Commission to exploit the four Sentinel missions of the Copernicus space component dedicated to the monitoring of atmosphere, ocean and climate. EUMETSAT will carry out these tasks in cooperation with ESA.
More about EUMETSAT’s role in Copernicus
The European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) is an independent intergovernmental organisation supported by 34 Member and Cooperating States. ECMWF is both a research institute and a 24/7 operational service, producing and disseminating numerical weather predictions to its Member States. This data is fully available to the national meteorological services in the Member States. The centre also offers a catalogue of forecast data that can be purchased by businesses worldwide and other commercial customers. ECMWF has been entrusted by the European Commission to operate Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS) and Copernicus Climate Change Monitoring (C3S) Service.
More about ECMWF’s role in Copernicus: CAMS | C3S
Mercator Ocean is an ocean data and information service provider of real and delayed time data. The company is located in South-Western France near Toulouse. Mercator Ocean designs, develops and runs forecasting systems based on ocean numerical modelling fed by ocean observations, to describe the physical and biogeochemical states of the ocean at any time, above and beneath the surface, at global and regional scales. Mercator Ocean is a private, non-profit company owned by nine major players in operational oceanography worldwide, that are privileged users and key scientific partners of the Copernicus Marine Service: CMCC (Centro Euro-Mediterraneo sui Cambiamenti Climatici), CNRS (French National Centre of Scientific Research), Ifremer (French Research Institute for Exploitation of the Sea), IRD (Institute of Research for Development), Météo-France and the UK Met-Office, NERSC (Nansen Environmental and Remote Sensing Centre), SHOM (Hydrographic and Oceanographic Service of the French Navy), and the Spanish Puertos del Estado. Mercator Ocean has been entrusted by the European Commission to operate Copernicus Marine Service (CMEMS).
More about Mercator Ocean’s role in Copernicus