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Satellites aid understanding of the oceans

Every minute of every day, ocean-monitoring Satellites produce data crucial to aiding understanding of the weather, climate and environment.
Now EUMETSAT, the European OrganISAtion for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites, is offering a free, five-week massive open online course (MOOC) for anyone curious to know more about how satellites contribute to our understanding of the oceans.

The course, “Monitoring the Oceans from Space”, starts on 24 October and is timed to coincide with the coming on stream of satellite data and products from the Sentinel-3A satellite.

Sentinel-3A was Launched in February and is part of the EU’s flagship Copernicus Programme for monitoring the environment from space. The MOOC is funded by the EU through the Copernicus programme.

“The course will give people a whole new perspective on the world,” Dr Hayley Evers-King, Marine Earth Observation Scientist of Plymouth Marine Laboratory, and one of the MOOC’s presenters, said.

“Satellite observations provide a completely different way of looking how the world works, how things are interconnected.

“Satellite observations provide a completely different way of looking how the world works, how things are interconnected”

“Oceans are a vast proportion of the planet – 70 per cent of the Earth is water. Everybody knows that but, as we ourselves only experience a small part of the Earth at any one time, it is quite difficult for us to comprehend how things are connected globally. With satellites, you can see the interconnections (and) the ocean’s importance in terms of food, the air we breathe, the weather and climate.”

Hayley said she thought many people were unaware of the accessibility of satellite data.

EUMETSAT Training Manager Dr Mark Higgins who, along with physicist, oceanographer and BBC science presenter Dr Helen Czerski from University College London, also is a presenter for the MOOC, said the course brought together recognised experts from around Europe and further afield.

“If you are curious about how we know what we know about the oceans, then this course is an opportunity to come and play with the data,” Mark said.

“The course shows how much care we take over making sure the satellite data are correct, making sure the data are always available to downstream users and the sheer amount of data that is available.”

MOOCThat amount of information is set to vastly increase when Sentinel-3’s data is added to the mix.

EUMETSAT is responsible for the day to day operations of Sentinel-3 and for processing and dISSeminating its marine data stream. One of the main users of the data is the Copernicus Marine Environment Monitoring Service, where experts interpret and make available data relating to four key application areas: marine resources, maritime safety, coastal and marine environment and climate monitoring.

The MOOC also explores this relationship.

Registrations ( for the MOOC are now open.
About the MOOC

The Monitoring the Oceans From Space MOOC is funded by the EU’s Copernicus Programme.

  • The MOOC was developed by Imperative Space in partnership with Plymouth Marine Laboratory, the National Oceanography Centre (Southampton), CLS France and NASA JPL.
  • It will run for three hours per week and provide an interactive learning environment through entertaining lecture videos with leading scientists, tutorials, quizzes and learning apps.
  • The MOOC will explain how to access and use marine Earth observation data and information from Copernicus/EUMETSAT missions and the Copernicus Marine Environment Monitoring Service.

Link Open learning course shows how satellites aid understanding of the oceans