This image shows the Fraction of Absorbed Photosynthetically Active Radiation (FAPAR) over Europe. FAPAR is a biophysical variable related to photosynthesis and used to estimate carbon dioxide in plants. Data such as these are provided through GMES land services.
The European Union’s Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) program already is feeling the loss of Envisat, adding further urgency to launch the planned Sentinel mission.
Carrying an array of sophisticated instruments, Envisat provided a continuous stream of information about the state of our planet for 10 years. Envisat not only advanced science, but also supplied data for many operational services to monitor the environment and respond to crises such as oil spills—and, importantly, paved the way for developing Europe’s future monitoring services.
The GMES program has been established to support European policies and provide decision-makers with key information services. These services focus on improving the way the environment is managed, help mitigate the effects of climate change and ensure civil security.
The success of this ambitious initiative relies on the provision of robust satellite data, which will be supplied largely by a new family of missions, called Sentinels, developed by the European Space Agency.
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