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Still on holiday? Discover how Copernicus can improve your summertime experience!

Copernicus Observer


Recent advances in satellite technologies have enabled the number of applications which use data derived from Earth Observation satellites to soar in many different fields. For instance, information on the level of UV radiation in a particular location or on the presence of jellyfish on coastlines is now at your fingertips.


Discover below a few examples of useful applications to be used especially during summer that show the benefits of Copernicus.




Forecasts of UV radiation can prevent over-exposure and promote safer behaviour


The World Health Organisation estimates that approximately 60 000 deaths a year worldwide are caused by overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Information and timely warnings are essential to prevent skin cancer and promote safer behaviour. Forecasts of UV radiation, as those delivered by the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS) on a free and open basis, require accurate monitoring and modelling of the ozone layer, particulate matters, and clouds. CAMS provides such UV-index forecasts worldwide.


HappySun is a smartphone application providing information about forecasted UV levels over Europe, Africa and Brazil. It provides users with personal sun protection advice based on their skin type and location. The system is based on the exploitation of data coming from CAMS, enabling real time forecasts of the ground-level UV radiation.



Fig. 1 - HappySun smarphone application



The system is being further developed through the AURORA research project, funded by the European Union, which is exploring new ways of exploiting the high-resolution data that will be provided with unprecedented accuracy by the Copernicus Sentinel-4 and Sentinel -5/5P satellites in the coming years.



A similar smartphone application has been developed in Australia. The prevalence of sun-induced skin cancer is particularly prevalent in the country and timely and accurate information for the public is essential. In collaboration with the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, the Cancer Council of Australia uses daily Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service UV-Index forecasts to feed their SunSmart smartphone app with up-to-date information, providing an improved service to their users.


The SunSmart phone app offers users daily alerts on ultraviolet (UV) radiation peaks and current readings wherever they are in Australia. It also provides alerts for users on how much and when they need to reapply sunscreen depending on their coverage and skin type.

Fig 2 - SunSmart App





In the Mediterranean region, 150 000 people are treated for jellyfish stings each year.


Jellyfish are one of the oldest animal species on Earth and have a positive impact on our ecosystem as they support carbon sequestration from the atmosphere through transporting organic particles into the deep of our oceans. Due to climate change, marine pollution and overfishing of their predators, the jellyfish population has recently been increasing rapidly. This increase can cause severe problems when they interfere with human activities. To take precautionary measures to help avoid contact between people and jellyfish, it is essential to know how they are spreading along our coasts.



Fig 3 - JellyFish Map



Acri-ST, a French SME, has developed a free smartphone application (SIMPLEX) and a free-access web service (the Carte de Méduses, or Jellyfish map in English), to monitor the presence of jellyfish along the French Mediterranean shoreline. These are using observations from citizens in situ (more than 7,000 volunteers contributing to a database of about 30.000 observations so far) combined with data from the Copernicus Marine Environment Monitoring Service (CMEMS) as a pilot demonstration.


SIMPLEX uses Copernicus data to provide users with real time environmental data such as sea water temperature and water transparency based on their location.


Copernicus satellites, in particular Sentinel-3, can assist jellyfish presence prediction by providing information on a range of physical and biological ocean parameters that favour jellyfish blooms. Ocean temperature, salinity, water currents, sea-surface height and chlorophyll concentration strongly affect jellyfish density. To locate jellyfish, field data from beach observations are entered in a model to identify the conditions for the presence or absence of jellyfish. The necessary data on ocean parameters is obtained from observations and models using Sentinel satellite data and other CMEMS information. These data will be used to determine the risk level of jellyfish presence for a certain coastal area.


The Copernicus programme provides free and open data to all citizens. The democratisation of these data is serving to further develop and improve ground-breaking applications, which will unlock even more benefits for citizens, improving our daily lives.


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