Open Access

Evidence for geomagnetic jerks in comprehensive models

Earth, Planets and Space201457:BF03352558

Received: 18 August 2004

Accepted: 17 January 2005

Published: 21 June 2014


The rate of secular variation occasionally undergoes a sudden, sharp change, called a geomagnetic jerk. Such jerks have been detected in geomagnetic time series, centered—over the last four decades—around 1971, 1980, 1991, and 1999; others have been inferred from historical records. The geomagnetic jerks represent a reorganization of the secular variation, implying an internal origin, as established through spherical harmonic and wavelet analysis. However, some characteristics of jerks are not well understood. Here we estimate the occurrence dates for geomagnetic jerks, as they can be detected from a global geomagnetic model. This choice makes the present study novel, for two reasons. First, utilizing the comprehensive modelling approach allows for the use of a secular variation signal free of time-varying external fields and their corresponding induced counterpart, and observatory biases. Second, the model utilizes satellite data when available, in addition to observatory data. Indeed, POGO (1967 to 1971), MAGSAT (1979 to 1980), Ørsted (1999 to present time) and CHAMP (2000 to present time) satellite measurements help to separate the different magnetic sources. In this study the CM4 comprehensive model is used for a global search of geomagnetic jerks and their occurrence dates. Our first result indicates that found geomagnetic jerks might not have been worldwide in occurrence. Moreover, the obtained dates suggest that jerks detected in the CM4 model over the last four decades occurred not simultaneously but at slightly different times around 1971, 1980 and 1991.

Key words

Geomagnetic fieldsecular variationgeomagnetic impulsescomprehensive models