Destination Earth

Destination Earth, or DestinE is a European Union funded initiative to develop a digital replica, or digital twin of our planet by 2030. This groundbreaking endeavour will facilitate greater understanding of our changing climate, as well as dangerous, extreme weather events. The development of DestinE will significantly help to support the European Commission’s Green Deal, Data Strategy and Digital Strategy, complementing existing national and European efforts.

DestinE will create a step change in environmental prediction by using the latest advances in numerical prediction, digital technologies, supercomputers and artificial intelligence. To achieve this goal, three major European organisations, European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF), European Space Agency (ESA) and the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT), have combined their expertise and competencies. They implement DestinE together with over 100 partners throughout Europe and under the leadership of DG CNECT. Each entity is responsible for delivering a key component of the system; the Earth-System Digital Twins and the Digital Twin Engine are implemented by ECMWF, the Core Service Platform by ESA and the Data Lake by EUMETSAT

Harnessing EuroHPC 

Building a digital replica of the Earth relies on the exploitation of the world’s leading supercomputing platforms. Through a partnership with the European High Performance Computing Joint Undertaking (EuroHPC JU), DestinE benefits from some of the largest pre-exascale systems in the world, allowing Earth system modelling to enter a new chapter while exploiting unprecedented HPC capabilities. In return, DestinE offers an excellent example of translating the EuroHPC investment into societal benefits and a downstream digital transformation. 

In partnership with EuroHPC, DestinE:

  • sets up a unique bespoke cutting-edge high-resolution sumulation capability allowing to test hypotheses and scenarios regarding the evolution of the Earth system from days to decades ahead.
  • provides globally consistent earth-system and impact-sector information at scales where extreme events and climate change impacts are felt
  • fosters an AI-enabled digital eco-system supporting decision making

The role of ECMWF in Destination Earth

ECMWF is delivering the first two high-priority digital twins on Weather-Induced Extremes and Climate Change Adaptation as well as the Digital Twin Engine, a software infrastructure allowing to deploy the interactive digital twins on some of the most powerful supercomputers in the world. 

The fast evolution of weather and climate science, High-Performance Computing (HPC) systems and Earth system simulations, including machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI), allows us to create better quality, interactive simulations where users will have access to the full stream of data.  This new range of capabilities hasn’t yet been fully applied to weather and climate simulations. Thanks to the strategic access provided by EuroHPC Joint Undertaking (EuroHPC JU) ECMWF digital twins are deployed in some of the most powerful HPC systems in the world, such as LUMI, MareNostrum 5, or Leonardo. 

ECMWF Director of DestinE, Irina Sandu, introduces how DestinE stands for a novel information system and presents the main features of the two high priority digital twins developed at ECMWF, working closely with over 60 partner institutions throughout Europe.

ECMWF digital twins will provide a new type of information system better exploiting the capacity of pre-exascale computing systems, in a scalable and interactive manner, responding to the needs of its users through a co-design approach, with a focus on the sectors more heavily impacted by climate change and weather extremes.


ECMWF is the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts.

We are both a research institute and a 24/7 operational service, producing global numerical weather predictions and other data for our Member and Co-operating States and the broader community. The Centre has one of the largest supercomputer facilities and meteorological data archives in the world. Other strategic activities include delivering advanced training and assisting the WMO in implementing its programmes.

We are a key player in Copernicus, the Earth Observation component of the European Union’s Space programme, offering quality-assured information on climate change (Copernicus Climate Change Service), atmospheric composition (Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service), flooding and fire danger (Copernicus Emergency Management Service), and through the EU’s Destination Earth initiative, we are developing prototype digital twins of the Earth.

Visit the Destination Earth website

Visit the European Commission Destination Earth webpage

Find out more about The European High Performance Computing Joint Undertaking

Visit the ECMWF homepage