Digital twin technology is being increasingly applied in the power, manufacturing and other sectors to improve data-driven decision-making processes. These virtual representations of an object or system use simulation, machine learning and reasoning to inform decision-making. The first practical definition of digital twin originated from NASA in an attempt to improve physical model simulation of spacecraft in 2010 and will next be applied on a planetary scale in the Destination Earth project.

The initiative launched by the European Commission, European Space Agency (ESA), European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) and the European Organization for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (Eumetsat) seeks to develop an accurate digital model of the Earth to aid in predicting the effects of and building resilience to climate change. Use of Earth system models, advanced computing, satellite data and machine learning will enable Destination Earth participants to explore the effects of climate change on the different planetary components and possible adaptation and mitigation strategies.

Source: ESASource: ESA

ESA will be responsible for the user-friendly Open Core Service Platform based on space-based observation data. Eumetsat will helm development of the multi-cloud data lake underpinning the project while ECMWF will oversee evolution of the Digital Twin Engine, including the development of the two initial systems: Digital Twin on Weather-Induced and Geophysical Extremes and the Climate Change Adaptation Digital Twin.

The full digital replica of Earth will be available to scientific communities, the private sector and the general public by 2030.

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