Powerful climate models have helped dispel any uncertainty about the scale of the climate crisis the world faces. But these models are large global simulations that can’t tell us much about how climate change will impact our daily lives or how to respond at a local level. That’s where a digital twin of the Earth could help.
A digital twin is a virtual model of a real-world object, machine or system that can be used to assess how the real-world counterpart is performing, diagnose or predict faults or simulate how future changes could alter its behaviour.
So far, digital twins have primarily been used in industrial contexts, but there’s been growing interest in applying similar ideas to the field of climate simulation to provide a more interactive and detailed way to track and predict changes in the systems such as the atmosphere and oceans that drive the Earth’s climate.
It was just earlier this year that the European Commission officially launched its Destination Earth (DestinE) initiative, which it says “could be the key” to solving the climate crisis. Relying on the processing power of Europe’s supercomputers, DestinE strives to develop a full “digital twin” of the Earth by 2030.
In essence, the opportunities amassed are yet to be explored!