The European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT) is set to re-launch a modified version of its open online course known as ‘Monitoring the Oceans from Space’ next week.

The course has been funded by the European Union (EU) and aims to teach how satellites contribute to a better understanding of the world's oceans, which currently cover 70% of the Earth’s surface.

It will be provided free of charge and intends to explain the role of satellites in monitoring the influence of global oceans on weather systems and climate.

EUMETSAT training manager Dr Mark Higgins said: “Data from Earth observation satellites are crucial to efforts to better understand the health of our oceans because only satellites can give that truly global perspective.”

EUMETSAT is currently engaged in the daily operation of the Sentinel-3 satellite, as well as processing and disseminating the satellite’s marine data stream.

Sentinel-3 was launched last year and forms part of the EU’s environmental monitoring programme, Copernicus.

It has been providing additional Earth observation data for a greater understanding of the interaction the world's oceans, as well as weather systems and climate activity.

"Data from Earth observation satellites are crucial to efforts to better understand the health of our oceans because only satellites can give that truly global perspective."

Sentinel-3 also supplies data to the Copernicus Marine Environment Service, where experts interpret and distribute data relating to four key application areas, including marine resources, maritime safety, coastal and marine environment, and climate monitoring.

The Earth-related data provided by the satellite is free and open for use by everyone.

EUMETSAT notes that the recent devastations caused by hurricanes and the fluctuations of marine phytoplankton in the oceans, as well as the impact of sea surface temperature in the Pacific on Europe's weather, are all interconnected via oceanic activity, despite having seemingly little in common.

The company also stated that a range of orbital Earth observation satellites are currently helping the people on Earth to identify and understand these phenomena better.

Image: Partial view of an ocean. Photo: Theron Trowbridge / Flickr.