Jean-Noël Thépaut appointed as ECMWF’s new Director of Copernicus Services

27 June 2019
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Jean-Noël Thépaut

Jean-Noël Thépaut has been appointed as ECMWF’s new Director of Copernicus Services from 1 October 2019, when Juan Garces de Marcilla steps down from the post.

Jean-Noël has been a key player in the ECMWF team which has successfully implemented two of the EU’s Copernicus Earth observation services: the Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) and the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS). Under the leadership of Juan, Jean-Noël as Head of C3S and Vincent-Henri Peuch as Head of CAMS, the two services have gone from strength to strength since they were launched in 2014.

C3S has made the transition from a prototype service to a fully operational service routinely making available a wide range of products to thousands of users. These include climate data records of Essential Climate Variables (ECVs), global and regional climate reanalyses, multi-model seasonal forecasts, global and regional climate scenarios, and climate impact indicators. The quality-assured, authoritative information C3S provides is an invaluable resource for policymakers, scientists and businesses in sectors such as water management, energy, agriculture, transport, tourism and others.

A key development in 2018 was the launch of the Climate Data Store (CDS), which provides easy access to the wealth of information C3S provides. Since 2018, C3S has also published annual European State of the Climate reports, and it contributes to the World Meteorological Organization’s annual State of the Climate report.

CAMS became operational in 2015 and has since then seen huge growth in user uptake, based on its reliable and quality-assured service portfolio. CAMS now facilitates the provision of air quality information by many public authorities and businesses, reaching hundreds of millions of end users across the world. CAMS data are also used in mitigation and adaptation efforts by local, regional and national authorities as well as in scientific studies related to all aspects of a changing atmospheric environment. The wealth and reliability of CAMS information are contributing to making the European Union a key player and leader in this critical field.

Prior to his role as Head of C3S, Jean-Noël was the Head of the Data Division and Deputy Director of the Research Department at ECMWF, where he oversaw the development of world-class data assimilation algorithms for numerical weather prediction, the exploitation of satellite observations from operational and research Earth observation platforms, and the development and production of state-of-the-art climate reanalyses.

Jean-Noël is ‘Ingénieur Général des Ponts, des Eaux et des Forêts’ and graduated from the French National School of Meteorology. He received his PhD from PARIS-VI University in 1992 in the field of atmospheric data assimilation. He was also involved in the early development of variational data assimilation systems at ECMWF and Météo-France.

Jean-Noël has served on a number of international committees, including the EUMETSAT Mission Expert Team for Meteosat Third Generation and EPS Second Generation satellites, the NASA Global Modeling and Assimilation Office Advisory Board and ESA’s Earth Science Advisory Committee (ESAC). He is currently co-chair of the World Climate Research Programme Data Advisory Council.

This collaborative and international experience, together with his leadership in setting up the Copernicus Climate Change Service, means he is well equipped for this new challenge, for which we wish him well.

Photo credit: European Commission