Evidence‑based uncertainty estimates for the International Geomagnetic Reference Field

Beggan, Ciaran D.. 2022 Evidence‑based uncertainty estimates for the International Geomagnetic Reference Field. Earth, Planets and Space, 74, 17.

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The International Geomagnetic Reference Field (IGRF) is a multi-institute model of the Earth’s magnetic field, compactly described by sets of up to 195 spherical harmonic (Gauss) coefficients to degree and order 13, which allows the continuous evaluation of the field at any location and time on or above the surface. It is developed from satellite and ground-based magnetometer data and describes the large-scale variation of the magnetic field in space and time under quiet conditions. While much effort has been made on improving the forecast of the secular variation of the field over the 5-year intervals between release and renewal, less emphasis has been placed on understanding the spatial errors from a user point of view. In this study, we estimate the large-scale time-invariant spatial uncertainty of the IGRF based on the globally averaged misfit of the model to ground-based measurements at repeat stations and observatories between 1980 and 2021. As the ground measurements are reduced to quiet-time values, the external field is minimized for the purposes of this study. We find the 68.3% confidence interval is 87 nT in the North (X) component, 73 nT in the East (Y) component and 114 nT in vertical (Z) component. Due to the Laplacian distribution of the residuals, the standard deviations are larger at 144, 136 and 293 nT, respectively.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
ISSN: 1343-8832
Additional Keywords: Spatial uncertainty, IGRF, Magnetic field
NORA Subject Terms: Earth Sciences
Date made live: 20 Jan 2022 10:11 +0 (UTC)

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