DTE Hydrology

ESA contract n. 4000129870/20/I-NB (CCN. N.1)

Period: September 2020 – September 2021 (12 months)
Partners: The consortium is leaded by CNR-IRPI (Perugia, Italy) with the collaboration of 5 partners:

  • Vienna University of Technology (TU Wien, Austria)
  • CIMA Research Foundation (Italy)
  • Ghent University (Belgium)
  • Earth Observation Data Centre (EODC, Austria)
  • University of Bologna (Italy)


Both the European Union (EU) Green Deal and the new EU Data Strategy propose to bring together European scientific and industrial excellence to develop a very high precision digital model of the Earth, capitalising on an effective integration of the latest advances and increasing capabilities of Earth observation systems (satellites, in-situ data, citizen observations), high resolution Earth system modelling, Artificial Intelligence, Information and Communication Technology and High Performance Computing capacities. Specifically, there is the urgent need to develop a digital modelling platform to visualise, monitor and forecast natural and human activity on the planet in support of sustainable development and to predict and manage environmental disasters. This activity is particularly important in our times due to the major environmental and societal challenges that must be addressed.

The European Space Agency (ESA) DTE Hydrology project aims at fostering a fast step forward towards establishing a solid scientific and technical basis to realise a Digital Twin Earth focused on the water cycle, hydrology and its different applications. The project will capitalise on existing developments and incorporate the necessary elements to prototype a first instance of Digital Twin Earth for hydrological processes, as an integrated and interactive system providing the best possible reconstruction and simulations of the water cycle and the hydrological processes and its interactions with human activities at unprecedented resolutions and accuracies.

The activity will be approached in four steps: 1) building a high resolution (1 km, sub-daily, 2015-2019) satellite-based dataset (also integrating in situ observations) including, e.g., rainfall (based on the integration of SM2RAIN and Global Precipitation Measurement products), evaporation (high resolution GLEAM approach), soil moisture (from Sentinel-1) datasets, 2) develop a modelling system ingesting the high resolution satellite-based dataset able to provide a 4D reconstruction of the water cycle (based on Continuum hydrological model integrated with 1D and 2D hydrodynamic inundation models), 3) integrating the modelling system in the cloud-based DTE Hydrology simulation and visualization tool, and 4) exploiting the DTE Hydrology tool to develop user-oriented case studies focusing on flood and landslide risk, and water resources management. The selected area of investigation is the Po River Basin (northern Italy).


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