Contents area


Project start 01.01.2014
Project end 31.12.2016
Topics Climate
Research & cooperation
Region EU
Status Current projects

Observations from space provide valuable information that contributes a great deal towards our understanding and effective management of climate change. MeteoSwiss is participating in the Climate Change Initiative of the European Space Agency (ESA) to maximise the potential for long-term observations of the earth.

Climate change is probably the biggest challenge for humanity in the 21st century, and it is becoming increasingly obvious that observations from space are critical in this regard. However, there is not as yet a coordinated, long-term programme to make these data globally available, as is already the case in meteorology, for example. Moreover, climate monitoring requires data to be stored over long periods of time, in order to provide reliable long-term records. Over the past few years, continuous and formalised dialogue between the authorities responsible for climate monitoring specification and space agencies has produced a coherent set of requirements on which there is worldwide agreement.

Climate Change Initiative Programme

The European Space Agency has initiated a new programme with the aim of creating a lasting collection of climate observations: the Global Monitoring of Essential Climate Variables (ECV). The aim of the programme is to maximise the potential of the global archive of long-term observations of the earth that have been collected by the ESA over the past 30 years. The ESA Climate Change Initiative (ESA CCI) fulfils the extremely stringent set of requirements for highly stable, satellite-based long-term climate products, as laid down for the space agencies by the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS) and the Committee on Earth Observation Satellites (CEOS). The ESA CCI provides an important contribution to the ECV databases required by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Utilising the expertise and skills of all member states

The initiative will set in motion a programme of work that will enable all ESA member states to contribute to solving the problems associated with climate change. The programme is based on the provision of climate variables derived from all available satellite datasets, and encompasses all aspects of data availability, including data acquisition, calibration and validation, long-term algorithm maintenance, data curation and reprocessing as required - all within the context of a set of internationally agreed priorities.

The ESA programme will bring together European expertise covering the full range of scientific, technical and development specialisations in the field of earth observation. Moreover, it will provide climate researchers and working groups around the world with lasting and transparent access to the data and findings.

Further information