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The Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service is now operational with major BIRA-IASB contributions

Research Topic Chapter
News flash intro
Copernicus is the European Union’s Earth Observation Programme looking at our planet and its environment for the ultimate benefit of all European citizens. It offers six information services based on satellite Earth Observation and in situ (non-space) data. Among these is the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS) which provides near real-time data for air quality and the ozone layer, both globally and with a focus on Europe. BIRA-IASB has teamed up with international consortia to win three competitive tenders, and it is now contributing to this flagship European Programme through product validation and model development.
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The Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service: a major program of the EU for all its citizens

The Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS) provides continuous data and information on atmospheric composition. It describes the current situation, forecasts the situation a few days ahead, and analyses consistently retrospective data records for recent years. These products are provided free of charge through an interactive catalogue.

CAMS supports many applications in a variety of domains including health, environmental monitoring, renewable energies, meteorology and climatology. The service focuses on five main areas:

  • Air quality and atmospheric composition
  • Ozone layer and ultra-violet radiation
  • Emissions and surface fluxes
  • Solar radiation
  • Climate forcing

CAMS is implemented by the European Center for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) with contributions from member states through competitive tenders. Thanks to its numerous international collaborations, BIRA-IASB has earned three contracts to provide key contributions to CAMS:

  • the collection and quality control of reference data
  • the validation of core products
  • the software development of a stratospheric chemistry module for the next-generation global model of ECMWF

BIRA-IASB provides reference observations

Our Institute coordinates the collection of rapid-delivery ground-based observations by the Network for the Detection of Atmospheric Change (NDACC), assures the quality control of these observations, and delivers them to ECMWF and other CAMS providers to enable the continuous validation of CAMS analyses of forecasts.

For this contract BIRA-IASB collaborates with more than 26 research groups from 19 different institutes worldwide.

BIRA-IASB contributes to the validation

Our Institute earned two strong contributions to the continuous validation of the core products delivered by CAMS.

  • The first one compares the CAMS products with NDACC and TCCON observations that we collect continuously.
  • The second one focuses on the stratospheric ozone layer, comparing the CAMS analyses and forecasts with independent satellite observations.

Preliminary validation plots are automatically generated on dedicated servers for NDACC and stratospheric ozone. Thoroughly reviewed validation reports are delivered quarterly and annually. CAMS is an operational program, not a research project. Hence the timely delivery and quality of these reports are guaranteed by contract.

BIRA-IASB participates to the development of the next-generation global model

The development of the BASCOE model and data assimilation system has brought to BIRA-IASB a strong expertise in the modeling of chemical composition in the stratosphere and its quantitative comparison with satellite observations. This expertise is thoroughly valorized in CAMS through key contributions both to the validation contract and to a model development contract.

Indeed the model currently used by ECMWF in CAMS does not account explicitly for stratospheric chemistry, relying instead on a simplified representation for ozone and corrections from the assimilation of satellite observations. In order to fix this in the next-generation operational system, BIRA-IASB has teamed up with the Dutch meteorological institute to deliver an operational version of the ECMWF model which combines tropospheric chemistry from a Dutch model with stratospheric chemistry from the BASCOE system. A prototype version of this combined model was previously described in a peer-reviewed journal (Huijnen et al., GMD, 2016).

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Figure 2 caption (legend)
World map showing the stations from NDACC and TCCON networks used for CAMS model validation. BIRA-IASB coordinates and quality controls the data streams from the NDACC instruments.
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Figure 3 caption (legend)
Density of ozone in the lower stratosphere above the South Pole, as a function of time during year 2011. The reference is the BASCOE Reanalysis of Aura-MLS (black line; see the separate news item on BRAM), showing clearly the annual “ozone hole” event as a large decrease between August and November. The colored lines show results by 3 pre-operational versions of the global CAMS model: in red, using software code extracted from BASCOE; in green and blue, using software codes delivered respectively by the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology (Germany) and by Météo-France.