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The Swarm End-to-End mission simulator study: A demonstration of separating the various contributions to Earth’s magnetic field using synthetic data

Abstract

Swarm, a satellite constellation to measure Earth’s magnetic field with unpreceded accuracy, has been selected by ESA for launch in 2009. The mission will provide the best ever survey of the geomagnetic field and its temporal evolution, in order to gain new insights into the Earth system by improving our understanding of the Earth’s interior and climate. An End-to-End mission performance simulation was carried out during Phase A of the mission, with the aim of analyzing the key system requirements, particularly with respect to the number of Swarm satellites and their orbits related to the science objectives of Swarm. In order to be able to use realistic parameters of the Earth’s environment, the mission simulation starts at January 1, 1997 and lasts until re-entry of the lower satellites five years later. Synthetic magnetic field values were generated for all relevant contributions to Earth’s magnetic field: core and lithospheric fields, fields due to currents in the ionosphere and magnetosphere, due to their secondary, induced, currents in the oceans, lithosphere and mantle, and fields due to currents coupling the ionosphere and magnetosphere. Several independent methods were applied to the synthetic data to analyze various aspects of field recovery in relation to different number of satellites, different constellations and realistic noise sources. This paper gives an overview of the study activities, describes the generation of the synthetic data, and assesses the obtained results.

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Correspondence to Nils Olsen.

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Olsen, N., Haagmans, R., Sabaka, T.J. et al. The Swarm End-to-End mission simulator study: A demonstration of separating the various contributions to Earth’s magnetic field using synthetic data. Earth Planet Sp 58, 359–370 (2006). https://doi.org/10.1186/BF03351934

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Key words

  • Earth’s magnetic field
  • comprehensive inversion
  • electromagnetic induction
  • ionosphere
  • lithosphere
  • magnetosphere