Continuous and coherent global data sets are needed by the scientific and application community to better understand climatic processes and to improve climate models. Two sorts of data are available: near-real time (from a few hours to one day from sensing) and off-line (days to weeks from sensing).

Off-line data can be used to monitor radiative processes; ocean-atmosphere heat and momentum exchange; interaction between atmosphere and land or ice surfaces; and composition of the atmosphere and associated chemical processes. It will also be useful when trying to follow ocean dynamics and variability; ice sheet characteristics and sea-ice distribution and dynamics; large scale vegetation processes in correlation with surface energy and water distribution; primary productivity of oceans; or natural and man-made pollution over the oceans. Such data is of great help in the support to large international scientific programs (GCOS, IGBP, GEWEX, JGOFS, etc.).

On the other hand, faster turnaround is required for various monitoring demands, such as

  • forecasting of sea state conditions at various scales
  • monitoring of sea surface temperature
  • monitoring of some atmospheric species (e.g. ozone for warning purposes)
  • monitoring of some atmospheric variables (e.g. temperature, pressure and water vapour, cloud top height, earth radiation budget, etc.)
  • monitoring of ocean colour for supporting fisheries and pollution monitoring (complementing the regional mission).

Regional data sets are needed by the scientific and application user community for a variety of objectives such as:

  • sea ice tactical and strategic off-shore applications
  • snow and ice detection and mapping
  • coastal processes and pollution monitoring
  • ship traffic monitoring
  • agriculture and forestry monitoring (including tropical zones)
  • soil moisture monitoring and large scale vegetation processes
  • geological features and mineral resources
  • applications linked to SAR interferometry (DTM generation, hazard monitoring, etc.)
  • hydrological research and applications
  • support to fisheries in coastal waters.

Some of the regional objectives (e.g. sea ice applications, marine pollution, maritime traffic, hazard monitoring, etc.) require near real time data products (within a few hours from sensing) generated according to user requests. Some of the other objectives (e.g. agriculture, soil moisture, etc.) require fast turnaround data services (a few days). The remainder would be satisfied with off-line (few weeks) data delivery.