CEOS Development Environment

Climate Monitoring from Space

Satellite data play a pivotal role in observing variability and change in the Earth system.  Significant progress has been made in observing the Earth globally with higher temporal and spatial resolutions, which before the advent of satellites was all but impossible.  With satellite observations of the Earth, we have been able to construct global views of many variables across the atmospheric, oceanic, and terrestrial domains, including ozone, cloud cover, precipitation, aerosol optical depth, sea surface topography, fluctuation in polar ice mass, and changes to the land surface.  Indeed, with some satellite observations now spanning more than 40 years, this type of information for climate monitoring purposes is now invaluable.

Climate Monitoring Architecture

In response to the challenge of monitoring climate from space, we, together with the Coordination Group for Meteorological Satellites (CGMS) and the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) have developed a global architecture for climate monitoring from space that has been specifically constructed in response to Global Climate Observing System (GCOS) needs and requirements. In this context, our CEOS/CGMS Working Group on Climate (WGClimate) is the central focal point for the collection and provision of long-term Climate Data Records.  This is achieved through the ECV Inventory.

ECV Inventory

The Essential Climate Variables (ECV) Inventory houses information on Climate Data Records (CDR) provided mostly by CEOS and CGMS Agencies.  The inventory is a structured repository for the characteristics of two types of GCOS ECV Climate Data Records (CDRs):

  • CDRs that exist and are accessible, including frequently updated interim CDRs;
  • CDRs that are planned to be delivered.

The ECV Inventory is an open resource to explore existing and planned data records from space agency-sponsored activities and provides a unique source of information on CDRs available internationally. Access links to the data are provided within the inventory, alongside details of the data’s provenance, integrity, and application to climate monitoring.

The inventory is continuously updated by data producers and curators, and new versions of the database will be tentatively published on a biannual basis.  This recent update to the ECV Inventory is based on data collected during 2019. 

Use Cases

The WGClimate is looking for applications/use cases in which Climate Data Records from Earth Observation satellites are used for societal benefit and decision making. Our collection of use cases will increase awareness about the value of space-based climate monitoring, expand the user community, and generate new ideas for relevant applications. We invite you to submit contributions to our Climate Data Record use case examples here: