Destination Earth – development of a digital twin of the Earth

Destination Earth is an initiative launched by the European Commission to develop a digital model of the Earth – a digital twin. Fully developed, it will be able to monitor and predict natural phenomena, natural disasters, and related human activities to support sustainable development. SMHI is contributing as a subcontractor in the development of the digital twin.

Destination Earth creates the opportunity for digital modeling of the Earth system at a level that represents a significant breakthrough in terms of accuracy, local details, interactivity, and the speed of accessing information. By pushing the boundaries of computational science, data management, and understanding of Earth's processes, "Destination Earth" is an essential component of the European Commission's efforts towards the EU's Green Deal and the Digital Strategy. The digital twin will help users create precise and actionable adaptation strategies and mitigation measures.

European Commission on Destination Earth

Destination Earth web site

How Destination Earth can be used

Destination Earth will support the management of complex environmental changes:

  • Monitor and simulate the development of Earth's systems (land, sea, atmosphere, and biosphere) and human needs for protective measures.
  • Predict environmental disasters and the resulting socio-economic crises to protect lives and avoid significant economic downturns.
  • Enable the development and testing of scenarios for a more sustainable future.

Destination Earth will provide users with access to thematic information, services, models, scenarios, simulations, forecasts, and visualizations.

European Collaboration 

The European Meteorological Satellite Organization EUMETSAT, the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF), and the European Space Agency (ESA) are the three organizations selected by the European Commission to implement Destination Earth until around the year 2030.

The main components of the system are:

  • Platform for core services (tools, applications, etc.)
  • Data platform (commonly known as Data Lake)
  • Digital twins and the engine (software and related IT services) for these

EUMETSAT on Destination Earth

ECMWF on Destination Earth

ESA on Destination Earth

Digital twin for extremes – On Demand Extremes

With the digital twin for extreme weather – Destination Earth On Demand Extremes – the ability to combine information on weather conditions, hydrology, air quality observations, and simulation capabilities will be elevated to a new level of quality. There is a strong focus on providing effective decision support, which includes estimating uncertainties, for critical societal functions. The work will integrate the engine in the digital twin with the other components of the Destination Earth platform.

ECMWF is responsible for developing the first two digital twins, for extreme weather and climate adaptation. The development of the digital twin for extreme weather – On-Demand Extremes Digital Twin – is being carried out in a project led by Météo-France, in which SMHI is one of the subcontractors contributing to the construction of the digital twin. SMHI is involved in several work packages related to the design and construction of the system, covering meteorology, climate, hydrology, and air quality.