Recent studies show that air pollution reduces our lives as much as heavy smoking can. According to the World Health Organization, nine out of ten people currently breathe polluted air. Air pollution is also responsible for one third of deaths from stroke, lung cancer and heart disease. The Copernicus Sentinel-5P satellite is the first Copernicus mission dedicated to monitoring our atmosphere. this satellite of the European Union’s Copernicus Programme carries the state-of-the-art TROPOMI instrument, designed to map a multitude of trace gases such as nitrogen dioxide, ozone, formaldehyde, sulphur dioxide, methane, carbon monoxide and aerosols, all of which affect the air we breathe and, therefore, our health and our climate.
Sentinel-5P is also one of the most important sources of data for the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service, or CAMS – one of six services that form the Copernicus Earth Observation Programme, which looks at our planet and its environment for the ultimate benefit. CAMS is implemented by the European Center for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts on behalf of the European Commission. It provides consistent and quality controlled information related to air pollution, solar energy, greenhouse gases and climate everywhere in the world.
CAMS is fundamental because, just like for weather forecasting, satellite observations need to be processed with advanced numerical models to deliver readily useful information, such as surface concentrations for forecasts. CAMS information products feed daily air quality bulletins, broadcast on Euronews and CNN International as well as many apps, such as the Apple iOS Weather app, powered by The Weather Channel, BreezoMeter, Plume Labs or Windy, along with the Swiss IQAir that operates from Beijing. Satellite data are essential for monitoring air pollution sources and protecting our health, and Copernicus Sentinel 5-P, merged with other sensors, is a game-changer in this respect.