Transforming Hydrology by Integrating Remote Sensing, Modeling, and Data Sciences
Wednesday, 26 June 2024 | 2:00pm – 3:30pm

Program uses Korean standard time and is 9 hours ahead of GMT (GMT+9)

Ana P. Barros

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Next Generation Earth Observations – Battling the Uncertainty Hydra with Principled Digital Twins

For the first time in the five decades since the first framework of an Earth Observing System from space was to put forward formally, transformative changes in technology from data systems to supercomputing to measurement capabilities support the development of novel observation strategies that enable the integration of Earth Observations at the high spatial and temporal resolutions necessary to probe our understanding of fundamental processes and to support decision-support systems at human scale. This has generated much excitement leading to a conceptual shift from the original Earth Observing System construct to the Digital Twin idea motivated in part by the increasing availability of hyper-resolution SAR measurements. Here, we review the Digital Twin concept and highlight the relationship between system complexity and uncertainty. We articulate the challenge of uncertainty propagation and propose a hierarchy of Digital Twins and pathways to understand, quantify and control uncertainty leveraging internal physical constraints of the Earth System (e.g. the water cycle). We use SnowGlobe, an explorer mission proposal to monitor changing snowpacks and quantify water resources globally, to illustrate and demonstrate as a prototype of next generation Earth Observations.