What will the European Digital Twin of the Ocean be?
In a groundbreaking announcement at the One Ocean Summit in Brest in February 2022, European Commission President von der Leyen unveiled an ambitious initiative known as the European Digital Twin Ocean (EDITO). Conceived to bridge the gap between ocean research and the entire society, EDITO aims to revolutionise access to ocean knowledge and empower citizens, entrepreneurs, scientists, innovators, and policymakers. New cutting-edge interactive ocean data, advanced analytical support for decision-making, and innovative visualisation and simulation tools will be made available through EDITO. By harnessing the most sophisticated power of technology, this initiative seeks to drive the restoration of marine and coastal habitats, foster a more sustainable blue economy, and help climate change adaptation and mitigation efforts.
At the heart of EDITO's vision lies a comprehensive and holistic understanding of the ocean and marine ecosystems. Leveraging existing European scientific expertise and resources, this revolutionary platform will provide consistent, high-resolution, and multi-dimensional descriptions of the ocean's physical, chemical, biological, socio-ecological, and economic aspects. Forecasting periods will span from a few days to monthly, seasonal, and up to multi-decade scales, ensuring that EDITO delivers valuable insights for both short-term decision-making and long-term planning. In essence, EDITO will convert ocean data into actionable knowledge for the benefit of all.
To accomplish this ambitious goal, the European Commission has invested approximately €10 million in developing the core infrastructure and modelling suite of EDITO, namely through the EDITO-Infra and EDITO-Model Lab research and innovation projects. Conceived as a public service and a public good, this foundational investment complements the €19 million Iliad project, which was funded under the Green Deal Call for research to develop pilot applications for the EDITO concept. Additionally, several other research projects are actively contributing to the scientific background and digital twin applications that underpin EDITO's capabilities.
EDITO-Infra and EDITO-Model Lab are working collaboratively to establish the operational infrastructure of a thriving digital ecosystem. Through these projects and various other relevant and complementary actions, the aim is to achieve an operational demonstration EDITO by 2024. Such a feat would represent a significant leap forward in our ability to comprehend, manage, and protect our ocean and its ecosystems and resources.
The implications of EDITO extend far beyond the realm of policymakers and ocean researchers. With its user-driven approach, this innovative platform promises to make ocean knowledge accessible and understandable to the wider public. From local authorities managing coastal development to students learning about marine ecosystems to curious citizens seeking to understand the impact of climate change on our ocean and seas, EDITO is set to captivate minds and foster a deeper appreciation for the ocean's vital role in our lives.
In June 2023, the second edition of the European Digital Ocean Forum presented the opportunity to define the offer that will be proposed by EDITO with the “Explore” capacity to dive into wealth of data and information available for free on the platform, the “Create” capacity to simulate scenarios and build services and the “Contribute” capacity to your own add data and services to the Digital Twin Ocean platform.
Learn more about the whole EDITO initiative in this illustration by the European Commission.
To stay informed and engaged with the latest developments surrounding EDITO, interested individuals are encouraged to subscribe to the EDITO mailing list and follow its updates on LinkedIn and Twitter.
- 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