To become climate neutral by 2050, the European Union launched two ambitious programmes: “Green Deal” and “Digital Strategy”. As a key component of their successful implementation, climate scientists and computer scientists launched the “Destination Earth” initiative, which will start in mid-2021 and is expected to run for up to ten years.
During this period, a highly accurate digital model of the Earth is to be created, a digital twin of the Earth, to map climate development and extreme events as accurately as possible in space and time. Observational data will be continuously incorporated into the digital twin in order to make the digital Earth model more accurate for monitoring the evolution and predict possible future trajectories.
What is digital twin
Digital twin means creating a highly complex virtual model that is the exact counterpart (or twin) of a physical thing. The ‘thing’ could be a car, a tunnel, a bridge, or even a jet engine. Connected sensors on the physical asset collect data that can be mapped onto the virtual model. Anyone looking at the digital twin can now see crucial information about how the physical thing is doing out there in the real world.
Potential economic and social benefits
• Improved tracking of transit, weather and traffic conditions that can delay shipments, allowing shippers to more efficiently redirect cargoes and reduce spoilage of perishable goods.
• More accurate economic tracking, analyzing and forecasting, such as tracking the number of cars at shopping centers as indicators of consumer confidence at any given time, or the location of oil tankers and rail cars (or emissions from factories) compared to using data from biased or incomplete sources.
• Tracking of water levels, soil and crop conditions, to optimize use of fertilizer and planting times and to determine the best times to buy and sell and what prices to charge for agricultural products.
• Real time alerts of natural disasters and humanitarian emergencies to most efficiently coordinate rescue and aid efforts.
• Tracking of and enforcement against illegal logging, fishing, poaching, burning of woodlands.
• Tracing of and enforcement against illegal migration.
• Blockchain combined with space-based broadband access to make it easier for suppliers or remote autonomous machines in geographies with weak banking, communication or legal infrastructures to participate in global markets.
• Tracking data for better management of infrastructure maintenance.
In a nutshell
• The European Union has launched two programmes to become climate neutral by 2050: ‘Green Deal’ and ‘Digital Strategy’.
• Alongside this, their 10-year ‘Destination Earth’ initiative will involve creating a digital ‘twin’ of the Earth to map climate development.
• This digital model will also be used to predict how certain scenarios would affect Earth and create effective solutions against climate change.
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