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Avery, MS, Gee JS, Constable CG.  2017.  Asymmetry in growth and decay of the geomagnetic dipole revealed in seafloor magnetization. Earth and Planetary Science Letters. 467:79-88.   10.1016/j.epsl.2017.03.020   AbstractWebsite

Geomagnetic intensity fluctuations provide important constraints on time-scales associated with dynamical processes in the outer core. PADM2M is a reconstructed time series of the 0-2 Ma axial dipole moment (ADM). After smoothing to reject high frequency variations PADM2M's average growth rate is larger than its decay rate. The observed asymmetry in rates of change is compatible with longer term diffusive decay of the ADM balanced by advective growth on shorter time scales, and provides a potentially useful diagnostic for evaluating numerical geodynamo simulations. We re-analyze the PADM2M record using improved low-pass filtering to identify asymmetry and quantify its uncertainty via bootstrap methods before applying the new methodology to other kinds of records. Asymmetry in distribution of axial dipole moment derivatives is quantified using the geomagnetic skewness coefficient, sg. A positive value indicates the distribution has a longer positive tail and the average growth rate is greater than the average decay rate. The original asymmetry noted by Ziegler and Constable (2011) is significant and does not depend on the specifics of the analysis. A long-term record of geomagnetic intensity should also be preserved in the thermoremanent magnetization of oceanic crust recovered by inversion of stacked profiles of marine magnetic anomalies. These provide an independent means of verifying the asymmetry seen in PADM2M. We examine three near bottom surveys: a 0 to 780 ka record from the East Pacific Rise at 19 degrees S, a 0 to 5.2 Ma record from the Pacific Antarctic Ridge at 51 degrees S, and a chron C4Ar-C5r (9.3-11.2 Ma) record from the NE Pacific. All three records show an asymmetry similar in sense to PADM2M with geomagnetic skewness coefficients, s(g) > 0. Results from PADM2M and C4Ar-C5r are most robust, reflecting the higher quality of these geomagnetic records. Our results confirm that marine magnetic anomalies can carry a record of the asymmetric geomagnetic field behavior first found for 0-2 Ma in PADM2M, and show that it was also present during the earlier time interval from 9.3-11.2 Ma. (C) 2017 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V.

Smith-Boughner, LT, Ziegler LB, Constable CG.  2011.  Changing spectrum of geomagnetic intensity variations in a fragmented 12 My sediment record from the Oligocene. Physics of the Earth and Planetary Interiors. 188:260-269.   10.1016/j.pepi.2011.07.011   AbstractWebsite

Time series of relative geomagnetic paleointensity variations derived from marine sediments can be calibrated using absolute data derived from igneous materials. The resulting records may be suitable for spectral analysis of geomagnetic dipole variations. This work re-evaluates the 12 My (22.74-34.77 Ma) sediment record from Deep Sea Drilling Project Leg 73, Site 522, that is a key data set for determining the paleomagnetic power spectrum in the frequency range 1-100 My(-1). The 12 My record is marred by uneven sampling, with the interval between samples ranging from 1 to 640 ky, and contains several gaps that are considered too long to interpolate. The relative intensity data are calibrated using 129 globally distributed absolute paleointensity data from the same time interval. The power spectrum of the resulting time series is estimated using direct multi-taper spectral estimation with prolate data tapers adapted to deal with missing sections in the time series. The longest record available for analysis is thereby extended from 5.3 to 12 My. The new paleomagnetic power spectrum confirms the presence of a broad spectral peak at around 8 My(-1) for the early Oligocene and uncovers a peak around 2.5 My(-1) in the late Oligocene. Both peaks may be linked to tiny wiggles in marine magnetic anomalies. The new analysis unambiguously verifies that there is lower overall power in the younger part of the record, where the reversal process appears to dominate the power spectrum of the paleosecular variation. A comparison of the late Oligocene spectrum with that of PADM2M, a model of paleomagnetic axial dipole variations for 0-2 Ma, reveals some broad similarities; both time periods have similar power levels and a reversal rate of 4 My(-1). During the early Oligocene the reversal rate is about a factor of two lower, the field strength is higher, and the secular variation is stronger, suggesting that a strong magnetic field inhibits reversals but produces more variability in field strength. (C) 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Constable, C, Korte M.  2006.  Is Earth's magnetic field reversing? Earth and Planetary Science Letters. 246:1-16.   10.1016/j.epsl.2006.03.038   AbstractWebsite

Earth's dipole field has been diminishing in strength since the first systematic observations of field intensity were made in the mid nineteenth century. This has led to speculation that the geomagnetic field might now be in the early stages of a reversal. In the longer term context of paleomagnetic observations it is found that for the current reversal rate and expected statistical variability in polarity interval length an interval as long as the ongoing 0.78 Myr Brunhes polarity interval is to be expected with a probability of less than 0.15, and the preferred probability estimates range from 0.06 to 0.08. These rather low odds might be used to infer that the next reversal is overdue, but the assessment is limited by the statistical treatment of reversals as point processes. Recent paleofield observations combined with insights derived from field modeling and numerical geodynamo simulations suggest that a reversal is not imminent. The current value of the dipole moment remains high compared with the average throughout the ongoing 0.78 Myr Brunhes polarity interval; the present rate of change in Earth's dipole strength is not anomalous compared with rates of change for the past 7 kyr; furthermore there is evidence that the field has been stronger on average during the Brunhes than for the past 160 Ma, and that high average field values are associated with longer polarity chrons. There is no evidence from recent millennial scale time-varying paleofield models to indicate that the field is entering a polarity transition. Nevertheless, it remains a reasonable supposition that the magnetic field will eventually reverse even though the time scale is unpredictable. A more immediate concern is that ongoing secular variation in the magnetic field may be expected to moderate the current high dipole strength on centennial to millennial time scales: it would not be surprising if it dropped substantially, returning closer to the average without necessarily reversing. This could have important consequences for space weather, and also highlights the need for improved understanding of the impact of geomagnetic field strength on the production rates of cosmogenic isotopes that are used to estimate past solar variability. (c) 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.