New global temperature data published by the EU’s Copernicus programme shows that the 12 month period to the end of October 2015 was the warmest on record. The monthly snapshot from the EU’s earth monitoring satellite programme highlights the potential for ‘big data’ to help the water and energy industries adapt to the changing environment.

The Copernicus programme 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.

Dr Vincent-Henri Peuch, Head of the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service, said: "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."

It is believed that Copernicus’ ability to harvest and interpret data will transform the confidence with which governments and industrial sectors take decisions. For the energy sector, the programme will:

• Help identify the most profitable and sustainable sites for hydroelectric dams, wind farms 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.