© mercator ocean 2022

Digital Twin

A leap in ocean
knowledge and
sustainable action

Empowering citizens to make informed decisions backed by science and data to protect marine environments
The Digital Twin Ocean is a consistent, high-resolution, multi-dimensional and near real-time virtual representation of the ocean, combining ocean observations, artificial intelligence, advanced modelling operating on high-performance computers and accessible to all.
Why it is needed
Inform sustainable measures that ensure the preservation of marine environments
The Digital Twin Ocean will give governments, researchers, businesses, activists, and citizens alike the power to make informed decisions, backed by science and data, to restore marine and coastal habitats, support a sustainable blue economy and mitigate and adapt to climate change.
Serving the EU Mission to Restore Oceans and Seas
Strengthen ocean governance
An interactive platform to monitor and assess the impact of human activities on marine environments, from carbon emissions to overfishing to marine pollution, the Digital Twin Ocean will generate knowledge to strengthen ocean governance.
Restore marine habitats and biodiversity
The two-way exchange of information between marine ecosystems and the Digital Twin can provide critical insights into how human activities impact habitats, the efficacy of conservation efforts, and guidance for marine protected areas management to safeguard productivity and biodiversity of marine ecosystems.
Improve disaster-risk management
Digital twinning will allow global high-resolution ocean forecast models to integrate real-time data with risk reduction and management actions to enhance early-warning systems, improve the effectiveness of national and local mitigation and adaptation strategies, and build resilience of the most vulnerable communities.
How it works
The Digital Twin Ocean integrates a wide range of data sources to transform data into knowledge
This highly accurate living replica of the ocean is fed by continuous observations from thousands of sensors across the world’s oceans and numerous satellites. Users will interactively access comprehensive information to assess the impact of potential interventions in different climate scenarios.
The Digital
Twin Ocean in
10 points
An international initiative to protect the oceans
The Digital Twin Ocean serves to make ocean knowledge available to all: governments, politicians, scientific experts, the private sector, entrepreneurs, ordinary citizens and activists alike, thus empowering them to become partners in knowledge generation by facilitating interactions in the pursuit of a healthy and productive ocean.
Most advanced and detailed modelling of the ocean
The Digital Twin engine will provide a coherent, multi-variable and multi-dimensional description of the marine environment and biodiversity, from the coast to open ocean, from ocean physics to ice to biogeochemistry, from the surface to the seabed, allowing a digital exploration in time and space of the ocean according to different scenarios.
Following Typhoon Hagibis by visualising wave height in the Pacific Ocean from 8 to 14 October 2019 by the Copernicus Marine Service
Bringing local and global systems together
From policymakers to citizen scientists, different users can use and bring their local information, data and models into the Digital Twin Ocean platform to generate knowledge and predict future scenarios. This local and tailored information will in turn enrich the global data set.
Data visualisation of Sea ice thickness for 2019, 2020 and 2021 by the Copernicus Marine Service
Integrating Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Ocean modelling
The Digital Twin Ocean encompasses innovative artificial intelligence techniques leading to improved process understanding, combining advanced machine learning methods and ocean ecosystem models based on physics-guided machine learning and causal reasoning. The advancement of ocean system science with artificial intelligence entails big data processing methods and rich data pipelines. This approach is only possible on a large scale when relying on a solid technical backbone, as proposed by the Digital Twin.
A unique tool for the monitoring of marine biodiversity
Relying on powerful multivariable modelling, integrating citizen science observations, combining ocean physics and biogeochemistry parameters, the Digital Twin Ocean will provide a tool to provide trustworthy assessments on the impacts of management decisions and global conservation actions on biodiversity health, primary production and conditions for species development.
Federative and interoperable with existing initiatives
Visualisation of in situ ocean observing platforms feeding the Copernicus Marine In Situ Thematic Assembly Centre
Copernicus Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich satellite providing measurements of changes in sea-surface topography, key for monitoring global seal level, the speed and direction of ocean currents and ocean heat storage.
The Digital Twin of the Ocean will build on existing European satellite, in situ and model data provided by Copernicus, EMODnet, and pan-European and national research infrastructures, and at the same time allow for integration of alternative data flows from Internet of Things (IoT), citizens and industry.
A reliable and effective 3-block architecture
Block 1 will provide the access to data, integrating existing data and new data flows, combined in a DataLake. Based on High Performance Computing (HPC) infrastructure, Block 2 will provide the operational live model and additional capabilities, enabling the on-demand modelling powering Block 3, which consists of the front-end interactive simulation layer for user applications.
Fully compatible with Europe's Destination Earth initiative (DestinE)
The Digital Twin Ocean will be fully compatible with the DestinE architecture, led by ESA, EUMETSAT and ECMWF. From data integration to using EuroHPC to data exploitation, the Digital Twin Ocean will be fully aligned with the DestinE Digital Twins and strongly support the European Union’s Digital Strategy and Green Deal objectives.
Harnessing Europe’s High Performance Computing capacity
The Digital Twin engine will run on existing infrastructure relying on world-class European supercomputing pre-exascale resources. This infrastructure not only provides High Performance Computing (HPC) for simulation and modelling and cloud resources for data storage but also High Performance Data Access and Graphical Processing Unit technologies, striving for the extensive application of data-driven computing and is compatible with major components of the European e-Infrastructure such as EOSC and GEANT.
Instrumental to the UN Ocean Decade
Credit: Martin Colognoli/ Ocean Image Bank
A powerful asset to support the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development and 2030 Agenda, the Digital Twin of the Ocean will provide the ability to explore the impacts that management decisions such as reducing CO₂ emissions or establishing marine protected areas would have on marine ecosystems, climate, and ocean economy sectors.
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