The Geomagnetism Group at CIRES and NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information develops models of the various sources of the Earth’s magnetic field, from fluid flows in the outer core to electric currents in the magnetosphere. The main emphasis of this research is on empirical models that can be used in navigation and positioning applications at or near the Earth’s surface. For example, the World Magnetic Model (WMM), which describes the core field and its slow temporal variations, is the standard model for all DoD spacecrafts, ships and submarines. The WMM is widely used in government and industry, and is embedded in >1B smartphones. More sophisticated models include the effects of other sources such as magnetized rocks in the crust and time-varying electric currents in the ionosphere and magnetosphere. One such model, the HDGM, is used by the directional drilling industry for accurate well-bore orientation, to maximize drilling efficiency and mitigate collision risk. HDGM uses data from solar-wind observing satellites, Swarm satellites and ground-based magnetometers to determine ionospheric and magnetospheric fields in near real-time.
In this seminar, I will provide an overview of selected models developed by our group, and describe our research on improving these models. An important aspect of this research is developing new techniques to better separate and understand the various sources of the Earth’s magnetic field. We also work on defining instrument specifications for future satellite missions dedicated to geomagnetic field observation, including a CU Grand Challenge magnetic Cubesat constellation.