Open Access

Local time features of geomagnetic jerks

  • Hiromichi Nagao1Email author,
  • Toshihiko Iyemori2,
  • Tomoyuki Higuchi3,
  • Shin’ya Nakano1 and
  • Tohru Araki1
Earth, Planets and Space201454:BF03351712

Received: 7 June 2001

Accepted: 20 November 2001

Published: 20 June 2014


The geomagnetic jerk amplitudes, which are defined as abruptness of changes in the trends of geomagnetic time series, are investigated with geomagnetic monthly means computed from hourly mean values at each local time. A statistical time series model in which the trend component is expressed by a second order spline function with variable knots is constructed for each time series. The optimum parameter values of the model including positions of knots are estimated by the maximum likelihood method, and the optimum number of parameters including the number of knots are determined based on the Akaike Information Criterion (AIC). The jerks are detected objectively and automatically by regarding the optimized positions of knots as the occurrence epochs. This analysis reveals that the spatial distributions of jerk amplitudes essentially do not depend on the local time, which indicates that the jerks cannot be explained by abrupt changes in intensities of latitudinally flowing external currents such as the field-aligned currents. Longitudinally flowing currents, on the other hand, such as the ring current could explain the distributions. The abrupt changes of the ring current intensity are estimated from the distributions of jerk amplitudes in the eastward component in 1969, 1978, and 1991 supposing that an abrupt change in the ring current intensity causes a jerk. However those estimated changes cannot consistently explain the distributions of the jerks in the northward and downward components. Therefore it is plausible that the jerks which occurred in 1969, 1978, and 1991 are not caused by external sources but internal ones. It is also confirmed that the occurrence epochs of jerks in the southern hemisphere are a few years after those of the 1969 and 1978 jerks in the northern hemisphere, and it is also found that the jerk in the southern hemisphere occurred a few years after the occurrence of the 1991 jerk in Europe. Taking these time lags in occurrence epochs into account, it can be said that the 1969, 1978, and 1991 jerks are global phenomena.