Earth will soon have its own digital twin. Computer scientists and climate scientists have teamed up to create a virtual replica of the planet.

“And it is based on a computer system that simulates what’s going on out there in the Earth system as closely as possible,” says Peter Bauer of the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF).

Bauer helps lead Destination Earth, a project of the European Union. Its goal is to create a system that can simulate future climate impacts anywhere on Earth and model the effects of possible solutions.

Predicting what any particular city or town may face as the climate changes is complex and requires data about local weather, climate, land use, and more.

So Destination Earth will need to process vast amounts of data and develop detailed predictions about extreme weather and other events. It will require new, more powerful supercomputers and machine-learning technology.

“With all the investments in high-performance computing, software development, and machine-learning, Destination Earth is really aiming to take the simulation and observation of the Earth system to an entirely new level,” Bauer says.

But he says the end product will be usable by people without technical expertise, so elected leaders can also explore local climate impacts and prepare their communities.

Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy/ChavoBart Digital Media.