Digital Twins

DestinE is centered around an ecosystem of Earth-system digital twins.

Digital twins of the Earth-system represent a gamechanger in our understanding of how the Earth system will evolve, enabling a better assessment of the implications of climate change and impacts of extreme events from a global to a local scale. The DestinE twins complement existing prediction capabilities, support adaptation policies, as well as the implementation of the Green Deal.

ECMWF has been entrusted by the European Union, to deliver the Destination Earth Digital Twins. The first two high-priority digital twins focus on weather-induced extremes and climate change adaptation. These twins will simulate the behaviour of our planet with unprecedented quality, at high resolution spatial scales, where the impacts of extreme weather and climate change are felt.  

Built in close partnership with over 90 institutions across Europe, the digital twins combine several cutting-edge Earth system models and observations together with the most advanced digital technologies, machine learning and artificial intelligence, and are integrated with applications for the sectors most affected by climate change and extremes.

Find out more about Digital Twins in our Digital Twin Explainer 

DestinE’s digital twins have three main features

Quality

Providing detailed high-resolution information from global to local scale, based on accurate simulations performed with more realistic Earth-system models and an enhanced observation-simulation fusion.

Impact 

Providing integrated Earth-system and impact sector information at the relevant spatial and temporal scales for environmental challenges.

Interactivity  

Providing interactive access to models, data and workflows, based on the Digital Twin Engine and innovative cloud-based solutions.

ECMWF is building the first two, high-priority digital twins

Weather-Induced Extremes Digital Twin

The Weather-Induced Extremes Digital Twin (Extremes DT) creates a unique capability to produce bespoke, cutting-edge, numerical simulations of extreme events on a timescale of a few days ahead, to support decision-makers to rapidly respond and adapt to meteorological, hydrological and air quality extremes as they emerge.

The Global Continuous Extremes DT, developed in-house at ECMWF is pushing the boundaries of global weather simulations up to a few days ahead. Based on ECMWF’s flagship Integrated Forecasting System (IFS) model, the first experimental results at 4.4 and 2.8km resolution show significant improvements representing complex phenomena such as tropical cyclones and strong rain events over mountainous regions.

The regional On-Demand Extremes DT, developed by a large European consortium led by Météo-France, provides a configurable and interactive framework which can be activated as extreme events occur over Europe, allowing to zoom in and assess the impacts of weather-induced extremes at sub-kilometre scale resolutions on a timescale of a couple of days ahead. The On-Demand component has already produced first experimental simulations at sub-km scales, building on the previous work of the ACCORD Consortium.

Climate Change Adaptation Digital Twin

The Climate Change Adaptation Digital Twin (Climate DT) is the first ever attempt to produce multi-decadal climate projections operationally. The Climate DT is implemented by Finland’s CSC-IT Center for Science who leads a consortium of European excellence centres with partners in six countries. 

The Climate DT provides multi-decadal global climate simulations with local granularity, including information specific to the sectors most affected by climate change such as renewable energy, urban planning or hydrology. The objective is to produce updated simulations every year or less, compared to the current models, ran only every several years. This enables the inclusion of the latest developments in Earth system science and digital infrastructure.   

An important innovation of the Climate DT is the data streaming concept, reducing the need for storage of massive data volumes (several decades of km-scale Earth system simulations). Impact-sector applications will be able to run within the digital twin workflow allowing them to obtain the information they need while the simulations are running instead of cherry picking within the stored data.   

The Climate DT is based on the previous developments of the EU Horizon 2020 nextGEMS project using the ICON model and ECMWF’s IFS coupled to NEMO and FESOM ocean models.