December 5th, 2023 | By Naomi Boon
On November 22, the Tula Foundation, Fisheries and Oceans Canada and Environment and Climate Change Canada co-hosted a conversation entitled, ‘Developing Digital Twins of the Ocean for Canada’. This webinar was an official satellite event for the International Digital Twins of the Ocean Summit 2023, hosted in Xiamen, China. ‘DITTO - Digital Twins of the Ocean’ is an endorsed Ocean Decade program, and a global effort to address Challenge 8, ‘create a digital representation of the ocean’.
Digital Twins of the Ocean use advanced modeling techniques and observations to create accurate simulations of the real world. These twins and the applications designed using them can be used to address a number of different end-user needs including - research, developing policies, emergency response, resources management, etc.
The objectives of this webinar were to inform participants of existing activities related to digital twins of the ocean across Canada, and to discuss the opportunities and challenges facing their development, so that resources can be more effectively utilized. Several presentations outlined existing development activities, including case studies from Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), Enhancing ocean dynamic analysis towards developing Digital Twins of Ocean in Atlantic Canada and the National Research Council of Canada Maritime Mastery and Anomaly Detection: A Digital Twin Showcase. The case studies, alongside other presentations on current activities, outlined the wide range of applications of digital twins of the ocean, notably for oceanographic monitoring, environmental sensing, search & rescue, transportation (shipping), marine conservation, fishery management, aquaculture management and natural disaster early warning.
The webinar also highlighted digital twins of the ocean work in the global context, including a presentation by Alain Arnaud from Mercator Ocean International about ongoing efforts in Europe, and an overview of the activities being led by Canadian universities in the context of the Ocean Decade from Mike Smit.
The anticipated outcomes of this webinar were to create a more engaged and connected community-of-practice on digital twins of the ocean across Canada, breaking down silos between government departments, universities, industry and NGOs, as well as linking similar activities within Canada to better understand user needs that can be addressed by creating digital twins applications. The long term goal is to have an active and innovative digital ocean ecosystem that brings together observations, models and end-user focused applications.
Fraser Davidson from Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) highlighted in his closing presentation that digital twins of the ocean encompass the full prediction value chain, enabling better knowledge sharing across disciplines, but noted that there are still gaps in ocean observation to be filled before digital twins can be fully utilized for Canada. He shared a 5-year vision for Canada’s digital twin of the ocean, including that there will be both international leveraging of Canada’s digital twin and that international twins will be leveraged by Canadians - a truly global effort to create and utilize a digital representation of the ocean.
The full webinar recording is available online. Stay tuned for more follow up activities related to digital twins of the ocean for Canada!