As part of European Commission’s Green Deal and the Digital Strategy, Destination Earth (DestinE) will contribute to achieving the objectives of the twin transition, green and digital.
DestinE will unlock the potential of digital modelling of the Earth system. It will focus on the effects of the climate change, water and marine environments, polar areas, cryosphere, biodiversity or extreme weather events, together with possible adaptation and mitigation strategies. It will help to predict major environmental degradation and disasters with unprecedented fidelity and reliability.
By opening up access to public datasets across Europe, DestinE represents also a key component of the European strategy for data.
Users of DestinE will be able to access vast amounts of natural and socio-economic information in order to:
- Continuously monitor the health of the planet: For example, to study the effects of climate change, the state of the oceans, the cryosphere, biodiversity, land use, and natural resources.
- Support EU policy-making and implementation: For example, to assess the impact and efficiency of environmental policy and relevant legislative measures.
- Perform high precision, dynamic simulations of the Earth’s natural systems, focusing on thematic domains such as marine, land, coasts, and atmosphere.
- Improve modelling and predictive capacities: For example, to help anticipate and plan measures in case of storms, floods and other extreme weather events and natural disasters.
- Reinforce Europe’s industrial and technological capabilities in simulation, modelling, predictive data analytics, artificial intelligence (AI) and high performance computing (HPC).
At the heart of DestinE will be a user-friendly and secure cloud-based digital modelling and simulation platform. This platform will provide access to data, advanced computing infrastructure including HPC, software, AI applications and analytics. It will integrate digital twins — digital replicas of various aspects of the Earth's system — on topics such as extreme weather events, climate change adaptation, oceans, biodiversity and more.
DestinE will allow users to access to thematic information, services, models, scenarios, simulations, forecasts and visualisations. The underlying models and data will be continuously assessed to provide the most reliable scenario predictions for the users. The platform will also enable application development and the integration of users’ own data. DestinE will initially serve public authorities and will gradually open up to a larger range of scientific and industrial users, to spur innovation and enable the benchmarking of models and data.
The DestinE initiative is coordinated by the European Commission, in close collaboration with the Member States, scientific communities and technological expertise. The initiative will be jointly implemented by three entrusted entities: European Space Agency (ESA), the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) and the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT) over the next 7-10 years, starting in autumn 2021.
The operational core platform, the first digital twins and related services will be made operational as part of the Commission’s Digital Europe Programme. Horizon Europe will provide research and innovation opportunities that will support the further development of DestinE. There will be synergies with other relevant EU programmes, such as the Space Programme, and related national initiatives.
A digital twin is a digital replica of a living or non-living physical entity. The digital twins of DestinE will give both expert and non-expert users tailored access to high-quality information, services, models, scenarios, forecasts and visualisations on climate adaptation models, extreme weather events, natural disaster evolution and more. Digital twins rely on the integration of continuous observation, modelling and high-performance simulation, resulting in highly accurate predictions of future developments.
The first stakeholder workshop on DestinE was organized in November 2019 to announce the initiative and collect feedback from potentially interested stakeholders. It brought together a large number of potentially interested parties from public authorities and the industrial and scientific communities.
To explore the potential application areas and parallel initiatives, the Joint Research Centre conducted a Study on DestinE use cases analysis and a Survey on digital twin initiatives in EU countries, with contributions from the ESA, ECMWF and EUMETSAT, Commission services and agencies.
A further series of open stakeholder workshops took place:
- In October 2020, two workshops on user specifications for the first two Digital Twins (extreme natural events and climate change adaptation (Summary Report .pdf).
- In November 2020, a workshop on DestinE system architecture design.
- In February 2021, a Policy user engagement workshop was organised for discussing the two priority twins with potential policy users and their use case proposals.
DestinE will be developed gradually through the following key milestones:
- By 2024: Development of the open core digital platform and the first two digital twins on extreme natural events and climate change adaptation.
- By 2027: Integration of additional digital twins, like the digital twin of the ocean, to serve sector specific use cases into the platform.
- By 2030: A ‘full’ digital replica of the Earth through the convergence of the digital twins already offered through the platform.