Posted: Monday 30th November 2015

Big data to help economies adapt to our changing climate and kick start climate data economy.

New global temperature data published today by the EU’s Copernicus programme shows that the 12 month period to the end of October was the warmest on record. The monthly snapshot from the EU’s Earth monitoring programme is the last before the world convenes in Paris at COP21 to seek a global climate agreement.

Alongside this, the potential for ‘big data’ to help industries such as energy and water adapt to the Earth’s changing environment was today the subject of a high level pre-COP21 panel discussion including the UK’s Special Representative on Climate Change Sir David King. The event was convened in London’s Tech City by the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF).

The Copernicus programme, which ECMWF is helping deliver, is the first integrated network of its kind. Utilising the EU’s Sentinel satellite network, thousands of land and marine based sensors, millions of readings every hour and a century long archive of data, it will generate the most up to date view of the global environment and predict future changes on timescales of just a few days to decades in advance.

Copernicus is already providing data that help the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to assess the risks associated with climate change, and has the potential to fundamentally change the way we interact with our atmosphere and climate. The huge volume of data on the Earth’s atmosphere and climate that underpins the programme is now being put, free of charge, into the hands of governments, industries, data innovators and the public.

Speaking ahead of the event, set to be attended by policy makers, businesses, academics, scientists and data innovators, Dr. Vincent-Henri Peuch, Head of the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service, said:

“Our latest data confirm the last 12 months were the warmest on record and that sends a strong signal to the Paris talks. But, even with action to cut damaging carbon emissions, we cannot ignore the fact our atmosphere and climate are changing.

“Data harnessed by Copernicus and available free of charge is going to transform how governments, industries - and all of us - are able to adapt to changes in our environment. It will dramatically reduce the uncertainties faced by those planning and operating our energy and water infrastructure.

“I’m confident that data innovators here in London’s Tech City will be quick to develop innovative new applications to transform how we go about our day to day lives. This is the start of the climate data economy.”

Kevin Sara, Chairman and Chief Executive of Nur Energie, said:

“Solar energy is one of the most important responses to climate change and the need to reduce carbon emissions.

“But the technology is itself affected heavily by physical variables connected with the way our atmosphere and climate are changing. Pollution, temperature, even dust storms, can make or break the productivity and profitability of plants.

“Copernicus will be an eye opener for my industry and others, bringing greater certainty to the decisions we take about where and how to deploy infrastructure around Europe and further afield. I want to work with Copernicus to ensure its potential is realised for the solar sector.”

The data released this morning shows:

· The global average for the period from November 2014 to October 2015 was the warmest twelve-month average on record, at close to 0.4OC above the 1981-2010 average;

· The global temperature for October 2015 was more than 0.6OC warmer than the October average for 1981-2010;

· The global temperature for October 2015 was well over 0.1OC warmer than the previous warmest October, which occurred in 2005

Copernicus’ ability to harvest and interpret data will transform the confidence with which governments and industrial sectors such as energy and water take decisions, and has the potential to change our day to day relationship with the atmosphere and climate through new products and services.

For the energy sector, the programme will:

· Help identify the most profitable and sustainable sites for wind farms, hydro-electric dams and solar panels.

· Enable risk assessments to manage the impact of wind, waves and dust on energy infrastructure.

· Allow assessment of the potential yield of renewable technology to help countries manage electricity supply and plan grid connections.

For the water sector, Copernicus will:

· Help identify areas most at risk of drought or flooding to protect property, infrastructure and ensure security of supply.

· Allow policy makers to assess the potential impact of ice melt on low-lying coastal areas.

· Enable the strategic planning of water intensive industries such as agriculture.

New products and service enabled by Copernicus could include:

· Applications to help commuters choose the least polluted cycle route to work.

· The ability to predict the future risk of flooding when choosing a home.

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