Articles | Volume 6, issue 2
Method article
26 Jun 2015
Method article |  | 26 Jun 2015

Magnetic observatories: biases over CHAMP satellite mission

G. Verbanac, M. Mandea, M. Bandić, and S. Subašić

Abstract. Taking advantage of 9 years of the CHAMP (CHAllenging Minisatellite Payload) satellite mission (June 2000–August 2009), we investigate the temporal evolution of the observatory monthly magnetic biases. To determine these biases we compute X (northward), Y (eastward) and Z (vertically downward) monthly means from 42 observatory 1 min values or hourly values, and compare them to synthetic monthly means obtained from a G field model (Lesur et al., 2015). Afterwards, the average of biases at all observatories over 9 years is calculated and analyzed. Both the long-term trends and short-period variations (hereafter ε variations) around these averages are then investigated. The simple oscillatory pattern of ε, found at all observatories and in each component over the entire considered period, indicates that the crustal field has not changed. A comparison with both MAGSAT and Ørsted biases given for epochs 1979.92 and 1999.92 which are based on 2 single months (November and December) of MAGSAT and Ørsted satellite data, respectively, further shows that the crustal field has probably remained constant over last 3 decades. The long-trend seen in ε reflects the changes within the solar cycle 23. The short period variations observed in the ε time series are related to the external field. The amplitudes of these variations are found to be in phase with solar cycle periods, being remarkably larger over 2000–2005 than 2006–2009. Furthermore, clear semi-annual variations are observed in ε, with larger extremes appearing mostly around October and November, and around May and June of each year in X, and vice versa in Y and Z. A common external field pattern is found for the European monthly biases. The dependence of the bias monthly variations on geomagnetic latitudes is not found for non-European observatories. The results from this study represent a base to further exploit the magnetic biases computed for observatories and repeat station locations together by using data from the new satellite mission Swarm.

Short summary
This study of crustal monthly biases' temporal evolution at 42 geomagnetic observatories over 9 years of the CHAMP satellite mission reveals short-period variations and long-term trends in the bias time series, signature of the induced magnetic fields, annual trends in most bias series, distinct oscillatory pattern over the whole time span, and semi-annual variations in all components. Swarm mission data and analysis of these findings will allow a better understanding of crustal bias evolution.