EGU24-17973, updated on 11 Mar 2024
EGU General Assembly 2024
© Author(s) 2024. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Post-launch Validation of the Copernicus Atmospheric Composition Satellites: Outcomes of the CCVS Gap Analysis

Tijl Verhoelst1, Jean-Christopher Lambert1, Martine De Mazière1, Bavo Langerock1, Steven Compernolle1, Folkert Boersma2, Daan Hubert1, Arno Keppens1, Clémence Pierangelo3, Gaia Pinardi1, Mahesh Kumar Sha1, Frederik Tack1, Nicolas Theys1, Gijsbert Tilstra2, Michel Van Roozendael1, Corinne Vigouroux1, Angelika Dehn4, Philippe Goryl4, Thierry Marbach5, and Sébastien Clerc6
Tijl Verhoelst et al.
  • 1Royal Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy (BIRA-IASB), Uccle, Belgium
  • 2Royal Dutch Meteorological Institute (KNMI), De Bilt, The Netherlands
  • 3Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales (CNES), Paris, France
  • 4European Space Agency (ESA/ESRIN), Frascati, Italy
  • 5European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT), Darmstadt, Germany
  • 6ACRI-ST, Sophia-Antipolis, France

The European Earth Observation programme Copernicus is implementing the next-generation system for atmospheric composition monitoring: after the success of the Sentinel-5 Precursor TROPOMI, a constellation of Sentinel-4 geostationary and Sentinel-5 Low-Earth orbiting missions will be launched in 2025 and beyond for air quality, ozone and climate variables monitoring, while the CO2M missions will observe greenhouse gases emissions and related proxies.  Post-launch validation of the data products is essential to determine their quality and enable users to judge their fitness-for-purpose.  Therefore, in 2021-2022 the European Union funded the H2020 Copernicus Cal/Val Solution (CCVS) project with the aim to review the status of existing validation infrastructures and methods for all Sentinel missions and to define a holistic solution to overcome limitations (  In this contribution we report on the maturity assessment and gap analysis performed in this project.  This assessment synthesizes lessons learned from earlier work in FP7 and H2020 projects, and from the operational/routine validation services run in the ESA/Copernicus Atmosphere Mission Performance Cluster (ATM-MPC), the EUMETSAT Atmospheric Composition Satellite Application Facility (AC SAF), the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS) and the Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S).  The CCVS assessment includes feedback from space agencies, Copernicus stakeholders and the CEOS Working Group on Calibration and Validation (WGCV).  

The validation means, such as the precursor data sets and comparison methods, have evolved significantly in the past decade: (1) New ground-based instruments have been developed and networks have expanded  in geographical coverage and in capabilities, (2) traceability to metrological standards and uncertainty characterization of the (Fiducial) Reference Measurements (FRM) has improved considerably, (3) rapid provision of FRM through data distribution services is becoming commonplace, (4)  the advantages of advanced comparison methods have been demonstrated, and (5) all of this has facilitated the development of operational, near-real-time validation systems such as the Validation Data Analysis Facility (VDAF-AVS) of the ATM-MPC for the Sentinel-5P mission. 

On the other hand, a list of remaining challenges still restrain the scope and quality of the validation of several atmospheric data products: (1) Station-to-station differences in ground-based validation results suggest (poorly understood) intra-network and inter-network inhomogeneity, (2) the coverage offered by ground-based networks (of the full range of the measurand values and of the influence quantities affecting the retrieval) can have important gaps, (3) timeliness of ground-based data provision remains poor for several products, (4) comparability (representativeness) between ground-based and satellite measurements requires further methodological advances and supporting measurement campaigns, (5) the accuracy and breadth of scope of the latest generation of satellite sounders puts correspondingly tight and difficult-to-meet requirements on the FRM data quality, (6) cross-validation of the different satellites requires a coordinated approach, and (7) some networks and activities experience increased/recurrent funding difficulties. 

We conclude this overview of the CCVS gap analysis for atmospheric composition data with illustrations of concrete actions undertaken recently to address some of the validation challenges highlighted by the project.

The CCVS project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 programme under grant agreement No 101004242 (Project title: “Copernicus Cal/Val Solution). 

How to cite: Verhoelst, T., Lambert, J.-C., De Mazière, M., Langerock, B., Compernolle, S., Boersma, F., Hubert, D., Keppens, A., Pierangelo, C., Pinardi, G., Kumar Sha, M., Tack, F., Theys, N., Tilstra, G., Van Roozendael, M., Vigouroux, C., Dehn, A., Goryl, P., Marbach, T., and Clerc, S.: Post-launch Validation of the Copernicus Atmospheric Composition Satellites: Outcomes of the CCVS Gap Analysis, EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-17973,, 2024.