You are here

Copernicus Marine Environment Monitoring Service enters a new phase

Copernicus Observer

The Copernicus Marine Environment Monitoring Service (CMEMS) provides data and information about the physical state variability and dynamics of the world’s ocean, ice and marine ecosystems. A major CMEMS objective is to deliver and maintain a state-of-the-art service responding to public and private user needs.


In April 2018, CMEMS entered its Phase II. The duration of the Phase II is three years, which will last until April 2021. Over this period, significant improvements and evolutions of the service are planned.


These evolutions will allow the service to keep up with developments in ocean data product delivery including satellite data processing, ocean modelling and data assimilation and onsite data sampling.


Forecast of currents in the Baltic Sea. Credit: Copernicus Marine Environment Monitoring Service


This Copernicus service relies on data from various satellites as well as on numerical ocean models, but also very much on in situ (i.e. on site) monitoring networks, which include marine stations, ocean buoys and water quality monitoring networks as, quite obviously, satellites cannot “see” under the surface of the sea.


CMEMS provides a sustainable response to user needs in four major areas of benefit:

  1. Maritime safety,
  2. Marine resources,
  3. Coastal and marine environment,
  4. Weather, seasonal forecast and climate.


This wealth of insightful and up-to-date data and information is available as free and open-access data for all of its users. To date, there are over 13 000 users that rely on these products.


Examples of CMEMS products. Credit: Copernicus Marine Environment Monitoring Service


To coordinate the complex and vast underlying collection and distribution of data, CMEMS relies on a distributed architecture. This includes many data providers spread all over Europe who produce and validate satellite ocean products, numerical ocean models and in situ ocean observation products daily. All ocean products are then distributed from a Central Information System (CIS).


To keep up with the growing need and demand for this valuable service, CMEMS is evolving. Since the beginning of the second phase, CMEMS is disseminating its information using an upgraded web portal and cloud-based technology, which brings efficiency, scalability and flexibility to the system. The web portal will be also upgraded to improve the service interface, and will feature, for instance, an improved user navigation, through relevant data based on their thematic profile (Area of Benefit or Market Segments).


Sea surface temperature. Cold threads of currents from an upwelling just at the Gibraltar Strait enter the Mediterranean and are then taken in the Western Alboran gyre in a spiral move. Credit: Copernicus Marine Environment Monitoring Service


These service evolutions and improvements are being implemented to better satisfy Copernicus user needs, maintain state-of-the-art systems and to benefit from improved observing systems and scientific advances in processing, validation methodologies, modelling and data assimilation. In particular, new biogeochemical data to support fisheries and aquaculture will be introduced in the catalogue. For example, biogeochemical models providing a 3D picture of the oceanic ecosystem with, for instance, a parameter such as phytoplankton will be greatly improved thanks to data assimilation of satellite Chlorophyll-a data from Sentinel-3. New products on carbon, CO2 fluxes and ocean pH will also enter the catalogue to better monitor indicators of the health of the ocean and its increasing acidity. New micronekton products will also be featured. Micronekton is composed of any very small crustacean and other free-swimming marine animals (up to approximately 10 cm) and is a prey for most large marine species that are either exploited or protected, making it a key ecosystem component to understand the habitats and dynamics of most large marine species.


Moreover, new products will be introduced in the catalogue to better meet the requirements from coastal zone users. New in situ HF (High Frequency) radar observation products will provide high-resolution coastal surface currents. Finally, improved ocean models will feature increased resolution and take into account tides to facilitate the coupling with downstream coastal models.


Other CMEMS improvements for Phase II include full capabilities to ingest Copernicus Sentinel satellite data. In particular, Sentinel-3A (launched in 2016) and its twin Sentinel-3B (launched in April 2018) support ocean forecasting systems, as well as environmental and climate monitoring.


CMEMS officially entered its second phase in April 2018, which will last until April 2021. Users will remain at the centre of CMEMS products and service design. The CMEMS Phase II improvements and the expansion of the product portfolio are aimed at reflecting users’ needs. Those needs are regularly collected by the CMEMS service desk, in particular, through its annual survey, during training or information sessions or workshops.


For more information, please visit the CMEMS website.

Share with:



Subscribe to the Copernicus Observer!


This article is issued under Copernicus Observer, which consists in weekly articles on specific Copernicus-related topics. To receive similar content directly in your mailbox every Friday, register and join the Observer community.