Evaluation of candidate models for the 13th generation International Geomagnetic Reference Field

P. Alken, E. Thébault*, C. D. Beggan, J. Aubert, J. Baerenzung, W. J. Brown, S. Califf, A. Chulliat, G. A. Cox, C. C. Finlay, A. Fournier, N. Gillet, M. D. Hammer, M. Holschneider, G. Hulot, M. Korte, V. Lesur, P. W. Livermore, F. J. Lowes, S. MacmillanM. Nair, N. Olsen, G. Ropp, M. Rother, N. R. Schnepf, C. Stolle, H. Toh, F. Vervelidou, P. Vigneron, I. Wardinski

*Corresponding author for this work

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    In December 2019, the 13th revision of the International Geomagnetic Reference Field (IGRF) was released by the International Association of Geomagnetism and Aeronomy (IAGA) Division V Working Group V-MOD. This revision comprises two new spherical harmonic main field models for epochs 2015.0 (DGRF-2015) and 2020.0 (IGRF-2020) and a model of the predicted secular variation for the interval 2020.0 to 2025.0 (SV-2020-2025). The models were produced from candidates submitted by fifteen international teams. These teams were led by the British Geological Survey (UK), China Earthquake Administration (China), Universidad Complutense de Madrid (Spain), University of Colorado Boulder (USA), Technical University of Denmark (Denmark), GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences (Germany), Institut de physique du globe de Paris (France), Institut des Sciences de la Terre (France), Pushkov Institute of Terrestrial Magnetism, Ionosphere and Radio Wave Propagation (Russia), Kyoto University (Japan), University of Leeds (UK), Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research (Germany), NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (USA), University of Potsdam (Germany), and Université de Strasbourg (France). The candidate models were evaluated individually and compared to all other candidates as well to the mean, median and a robust Huber-weighted model of all candidates. These analyses were used to identify, for example, the variation between the Gauss coefficients or the geographical regions where the candidate models strongly differed. The majority of candidates were sufficiently close that the differences can be explained primarily by individual modeling methodologies and data selection strategies. None of the candidates were so different as to warrant their exclusion from the final IGRF-13. The IAGA V-MOD task force thus voted for two approaches: the median of the Gauss coefficients of the candidates for the DGRF-2015 and IGRF-2020 models and the robust Huber-weighted model for the predictive SV-2020-2025. In this paper, we document the evaluation of the candidate models and provide details of the approach used to derive the final IGRF-13 products. We also perform a retrospective analysis of the IGRF-12 SV candidates over their performance period (2015–2020). Our findings suggest that forecasting secular variation can benefit from combining physics-based core modeling with satellite observations.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number48
    JournalEarth, Planets and Space
    Issue number1
    Number of pages21
    Publication statusPublished - 2021

    Bibliographical note

    © The Author(s) 2020. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licen ses/by/4.0/.


    • Geomagnetism
    • IGRF
    • Magnetic field modeling


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