Wed, February 10, 2021


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European satellites use simulations to catch the next climate disaster

Once in a generation weather events can appear with little warning, causing damage to infrastructure, putting a strain on healthcare services and often causing a loss of life. As climate change continues to make weather more unpredictable and extreme, simulation is being used to predict the next climate disaster.

A team at Barcelona’s Supercomputing Center are working on complex models that they hope can better detect the next extreme weather event. They are using data collected by European satellites as part of a multibillion-euro project called Destination Earth, which seeks to develop the world’s best digital simulations of Earth.

Europe’s space agency currently has 16 Earth observation satellites in orbit, with another three in development. European scientists are using this resource to find new ways to understand our changing atmosphere and the impact this may have on weather.

By using artificial intelligence and supercomputers, it is hoped that the first digital-twin simulations of Earth could be ready by 2028. This data would be made public by the European Space agency so that everyone from scientists to farmers can use the data to improve their own simulation models of weather.

The new tool will enable researchers to detect changing patterns within a kilometre, compared to ten square kilometres at present. This will provide scientists with more insight into cloud formation and how oceans transport heat, all of which impact weather.

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