Sabine Höhler, Susanna Lidström, and Tirza Meyer: The Ocean’s ‘Digital Twin’? Marine Environmental Data Through Time
From Tatyana Sarayeva
Susanna Lidström is a researcher in environmental humanities at the Division of History of Science, Technology and Environment, KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm.
Tirza Meyer is a postdoctoral researcher at the Division of History of Science, Technology and Environment, KTH Royal Institute of Technology Stockholm.
Abstract: Much hope is tied to the creation of a digital twin of the ocean based on an ever more extensive body of ocean data. Representing the ocean in the digital space is a way of analyzing and modeling the ocean in a ‘laboratory’ setting. Studying the ocean stripped from its natural complexity, so the idea, can better inform and instruct humans on how to interact with the ocean environment. Our twentieth-century understanding of the ocean as a central ecosystem in the planetary environment would not have been possible without long-term information gathering. However, also ocean data generation is a messy and contested process. Its history is even more important to study since we ‘know’ the ocean mostly in mediated ways. We observe the ocean almost exclusively through scientific instruments, and we formulate ocean policies, legislation, and development goals based on data and increasingly on digital information. That this data has a history makes the past, present, and future of the digital ocean not just a scientific but a political issue.