Participants of the workshops supported the development of digital twins (DTs) on environmental extremes and climate change adaptation under the Destination Earth initiative (DestinE). Discussions and recommendations have confirmed that such digital twins need to be based on the following basic principles:
- fusion of observational data and results from predictive modeling and simulation,
- vulnerability assessment, which means the full modeling from physical effects of hazards up to final impacts on people and the environment, and
- possibility to operate and update the digital twins from a central digital core platform.
For such digital twins dealing with complex socio-economic systems, a wide range of users – from thematic experts to policy-makers and the public – need to be empowered to interact with the Digital Twins in a flexible manner and at various levels of complexity according to users’ specific needs and levels of expertise. Therefore, in order to build trust in decisions developed on the basis of DestinE’s predictive scenarios and resulting mitigating strategies, each prediction needs to be accompanied by a quality mapping indicating the maturity of the underlying models/data and thus the usability of results for decision support purposes. This innovative approach to communicate expert-based uncertainty to non-experts and the public will be vital for using quality based science for policy purposes and thus to building trust in “science for policy”.
The Commission has finalized a detailed report from the two workshops and will take due account of the formulated recommendations in the forthcoming implementation of the two discussed Digital Twins. A forum for continued discussion – likely within the policy, science and quality mapping streams – will shortly be set up to further support digital twins’ development and implementation.
The objective of the Destination Earth initiative is to develop a very high precision digital model of the Earth to monitor and simulate natural and human activity, and to develop and test scenarios that would enable more sustainable development and support European environmental policies. Destination Earth (DestinE) will contribute to the European Commission’s Green Deal and Digital Strategy. It will unlock the potential of digital modelling of the Earth’s physical resources and related phenomena such as climate change, water/ marine environments, polar areas and the cryosphere, etc. on a global scale to speed up the green transition and help plan for major environmental degradation and disasters. By opening up access to public datasets across Europe, it will also represent a key component of the European Strategy for Data