Digital Ocean Forum 2024 presents first European Digital Twin Ocean prototype 

Digital Ocean Forum 2024 presents first European Digital Twin Ocean prototype 

The Digital Ocean Forum 2024 (DOF 2024) took place on 13th June in Brussels under the Belgian presidency of the Council of the EU. In its third annual edition, the event was notable for the unveiling of the pre-operational platform of the European Digital Twin Ocean (EU DTO). 
The event showcased applications developed through EDITO-Model-Lab and potential contributions from other EU digital twinning initiatives. This flagship event of the EU DTO initiative was organised by the European Commission under the EU Mission Restore our Ocean and Waters, with support from Mercator Ocean International, the Flanders Marine Institute (VLIZ), and Seascape Belgium. 
The high-level event was preceded by a scientific workshop on 12th June, gathering over 60 key EU and national research projects and initiatives in the EU DTO landscape. The workshop shared experiences from the first round of beta testers, gathered further feedback and requirements, and established priorities for future developments with a strong user-centric approach. 




EDITO-Model Lab’s added value to the fight against marine plastic and coastal hazards

A highlight of the event was the presentation of the EDITO platform, its key components, capabilities, and future developments. Harnessing EU expertise, science, and technology, the EDITO platform — led by EDITO-Infra — features a unique entry point to both the Copernicus Marine and EMODnet data catalogues. This is coupled with a processing engine leveraging supercomputing and cloud resources and a virtual numerical modelling environment to run the EDITO-Model Lab Focus Applications (FAs) and What-if Scenario (WiS)
Another key moment was the demonstration of two ground-breaking FAs developed under the EDITO-Model Lab project, already deployed on the EDITO platform. The first FA addresses marine plastic and predicts its complex dynamics. This FA, led by EDITO-Model Lab coordinator Mercator Ocean International, can simulate the pathways of plastics — for example, originating from rivers and coastal areas — once they reach the ocean. It tells us where the plastic comes from, where it will accumulate, and how long it takes to get there. 
With EDITO-Model Lab’s FAs, users can also create their own WiS to simulate, tailor, and test different management actions, such as specific beach cleaning plans or measures to reduce plastic pollution linked to any river in the world. 

The second FA presented at DOF 2024 supports the use of nature-based solutions, such as seagrass, for coastal protection against sea-level rise, coastal erosion, and other coastal hazards. This FA, led by EDITO-Model Lab’s partner Hereon, uses cutting-edge technology to combine state-of-the-art coastal numerical models with real-life observations from the EDITO Data Lake and artificial intelligence. This allows exploration of the best ways to use coastal vegetation and predict coastal hazards, creating priority risk maps replicable for different regions and types of coastal vegetation, such as mangroves and seagrass. Users can set up their own WiS to assess where these nature-based solutions work best and explore their impact on wave heights and coastal erosion. 



Next steps for EDITO-Model Lab 

As we approach the midpoint of EDITO-Model Lab’s three-year duration, the project is entering a key phase with several significant developments on the horizon. Firstly, the delivery of the beta version of the Virtual Ocean Model Lab (VOML), a pivotal tool designed to streamline the creation of EU DTO simulations and applications, is anticipated. There will be an increased focus on integrating on-demand ocean numerical modelling workflows with VOML’s capabilities, ensuring smooth and efficient functionality. This will also enable the deployment of on-demand demonstrators on EDITO’s high-performance computing infrastructure, significantly boosting data processing capabilities. 
Concurrently, the EDITO platform will soon host sophisticated ocean emulators, paving the way towards hybridisation of the EDITO numerical modelling framework. To further enrich VOML, new user interfaces and features, including a relocation capacity and online computation of diagnostics and indicators, will be introduced. In the final stage, the project team will publish reference simulations in the EDITO Data Lake, providing valuable resources for its diverse user community. 
These steps collectively mark a significant advancement in EDITO-Model Lab’s mission to develop an operations-ready simulation environment for the EU DTO, harnessing advanced modelling and digital technologies. To stay updated about EDITO-Model Lab’s and EDITO-Infra's progress, follow us on LinkedIn and X, and subscribe to our joint EDITO mailing list
Learn more about DOF 2024 and rewatch all the presentations on the official website of the event.  

  • Portability and interoperability of numerical models and simulation techniques
  • Optimisation and adaptation to new and future computing platforms
  • Coupling, interaction and hybridisation between different numerical models and Machine Learning components to represent ocean physics, biogeochemistry, biology and ecology
  • Flexibility in use, configuration design and simulations to suit applications
  • Virtual Ocean Model Lab is a co-development platform to connect developers of various models, users willing to produce simulations using AI and ML, and associated infrastructure providing access to different computing (HPC, CLOUD) and data storage and dissemination resources (data lake)
  • Usage examples and user support for Focus Applications and What-if Scenarios