Calibration and Cleaning of Magnetic Satellite Data

Lead Research Organisation: NERC British Geological Survey
Department Name: Earth Hazards & Observatories


The geomagnetic field is a fundamental and very useful property of the Earth, both in practical terms (for navigation, industrial applications and resource exploration) and in academic terms, for what it can tell us about various parts of the Earth - particularly the evolution of Earth's core, the structure of the Earth's crust and history of global tectonics, and also the motion of the oceans. It is also a major component in our protection from harmful space radiation. In order to use and understand the field, a first step is to produce mathematical models of it. The best models are made using data from low-Earth orbiting satellites; a particular new opportunity is about to become available with the launch of the European Space Agency mission Swarm, a dedicated magnetic measurement mission consisting of three satellites flying in a particular configuration optimised to tell us about the field. The majority of the geomagnetic field comes from within the Earth, but sources above the Earth also make a contribution - this is 'noise' when trying to model the main field of the Earth. In this project, we will develop new methodologies of better dealing with this noise, so as to use data from Swarm to produce more accurate and higher resolution models of the geomagnetic field.


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Description The work undertaken in this grant (under Aim 5) has added value to an External Income project funded by the European Space Agency, to support data from the Swarm Earth Observation mission, due to launch this Autumn. This project will deliver data and scientific products (the L2 products) for academic and other use and will be the bedrock data for the Geomagnetism science community for future years. The BGS contribution to this project is specifically a magnetospheric model, determined per orbit and made available daily. This model provides a vector magnetic index similar in principle to the (scalar) Dst magnetic index derived from ground based observatories, but only available some weeks to months after data are measured. BGS will also deliver, through the ESA project, quick-look data checking and a thorough independent validation of all proposed L2 products, e.g. models of the core, crust and ionospheric magnetic fields, produced by project partners, prior to release of these products to the scientific community and public. The involvement of BGS in this high profile project provides valuable scientific data for the UK research community.
First Year Of Impact 2011
Sector Environment
Impact Types Cultural,Economic

Title Calibration and Cleaning of Magnetic Satellite Data 
Description Software developed during the project is now used by the BGS Geomagnetism team to filter the many millions of measurements made by recent low Earth orbit magnetic survey satellites, to produce selected datasets for analysis, in terms of understanding and modelling specific magnetic field sources, such as the core and the lithosphere. 
Type Of Technology Software 
Year Produced 2012 
Impact Improved 'BGS Global Geomagnetic Model' used by the oil and gass sector for precision navigation