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Constable, CG, Constable SC.  2004.  Satellite magnetic field measurements: applications in studying the deep earth. The state of the planet : frontiers and challenges in geophysics. ( Sparks RSJ, Hawkesworth CJ, Eds.).:147-160., Washington, DCS.l.: American Geophysical Union ;International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics   10.1029/150GM13   Abstract
Ribaudo, JT, Constable CG, Parker RL.  2012.  Scripted finite element tools for global electromagnetic induction studies. Geophysical Journal International. 188:435-446.   10.1111/j.1365-246X.2011.05255.x   AbstractWebsite

Numerical solution of global geomagnetic induction problems in two and three spatial dimensions can be conducted with commercially available, general-purpose, scripted, finite-element software. We show that FlexPDE is capable of solving a variety of global geomagnetic induction problems. The models treated can include arbitrary electrical conductivity of the core and mantle, arbitrary spatial structure and time behaviour of the primary magnetic field. A thin surface layer of laterally heterogeneous conductivity, representing the oceans and crust, may be represented by a boundary condition at the Earthspace interface. We describe a numerical test, or validation, of the program by comparing its output to analytic and semi-analytic solutions for several electromagnetic induction problems: (1) concentric spherical shells representing a layered Earth in a time-varying, uniform, external magnetic field, (2) eccentrically nested conductive spheres in the same field and (3) homogeneous spheres or cylinders, initially at rest, then rotating at a steady rate in a constant, uniform, external field. Calculations are performed in both the time and frequency domains, and in both 2-D and 3-D computational meshes, with adaptive mesh refinement. Root-mean-square accuracies of better than 1 per cent are achieved in all cases. A unique advantage of our technique is the ability to model Earth rotation in both the time and the frequency domain, which is especially useful for simulating satellite data.

Davies, CJ, Constable CG.  2018.  Searching for geomagnetic spikes in numerical dynamo simulations. Earth and Planetary Science Letters. 504:72-83.   10.1016/j.epsl.2018.09.037   AbstractWebsite

We use numerical dynamo simulations to investigate rapid changes in geomagnetic field intensity. The work is motivated by paleomagnetic observations of 'geomagnetic spikes', events where the field intensity rose and then fell by a factor of 2-3 over decadal timescales and a confined spatial region. No comparable events have been found in the historical record and so geomagnetic spikes may contain new and important information regarding the operation of the geodynamo. However, they are also controversial because uncertainties and resolution limitations in the available data hinder efforts to define their spatiotemporal characteristics. This has led to debate over whether such extreme events can originate in Earth's liquid core. Geodynamo simulations produce high spatio-temporal resolution intensity information, but must be interpreted with care since they cannot yet run at the conditions of Earth's liquid core. We employ reversing and non-reversing geodynamo simulations run at different physical conditions and consider various methods of scaling the results to allow comparison with Earth. In each simulation we search for 'extremal events', defined as the maximum intensity difference between consecutive time points, at each location on a 2 degrees latitude-longitude grid at Earth's surface, thereby making no assumptions regarding the spatio-temporal character of the event. Extremal events display spike-shaped time-series in some simulations, though they can often be asymmetric about the peak intensity. Maximum rates of change reach 0.75 mu Tyr(-1) in several simulations, the lower end of estimates for spikes, suggesting that such events can originate from the core. The fastest changes generally occur at latitudes > 50 degrees, which could be used to guide future data acquisitions. Extremal events in the simulations arise from rapid intensification of flux patches as they migrate across the core surface, rather than emergence of flux from within the core. The prospect of observing more spikes in the paleomagnetic record appears contingent on finding samples at the right location and time to sample this particular phase of flux patch evolution. (C) 2018 Published by Elsevier B.V.

Korte, M, Constable S, Constable C.  2003.  Separation of external magnetic signal for induction studies. First CHAMP mission results for gravity, magnetic and atmospheric studies. ( Reigber C, Luehr H, Schwintzer P, Eds.).:315-320., Berlin: Springer Abstract
Constable, C.  1990.  A Simple Statistical-Model For Geomagnetic Reversals. Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth and Planets. 95:4587-4596.   10.1029/JB095iB04p04587   AbstractWebsite

The diversity of paleomagnetic records of geomagnetic reversals now available indicate that the field configuration during transitions cannot be adequtely described by simple zonal or standing field models. A new model described here is based on statistical properties inferred from the present field and is capable of simulating field transitions like those observed. Some insight is obtained into what one can hope to learn from paleomagnetic records. In particular, it is crucial that the effects of smoothing in the remanence acquisition process be separated from true geomagnetic field behavior. This might enable us to determine the time constants associated with the dominant field configuration during a reversal.

Constable, CG, Parker RL.  1988.  Smoothing, Splines And Smoothing Splines - Their Application In Geomagnetism. Journal of Computational Physics. 78:493-508.   10.1016/0021-9991(88)90062-9   AbstractWebsite

We discuss the use of smoothing splines (SS) and least squares splines (LSS) in nonparametric regression on geomagnetic data. The distinction between smoothing splines and least squares splines is outlined, and it is suggested that in most cases the smoothing spline is, a preferable function estimate. However, when large data sets are involved, the smoothing spline may require a prohibitive amount of computation; the alternative often put forward when moderate or heavy smoothing is -desired is the least squares spline. This may not be capable of modeling the data adequately since the smoothness of the resulting function can be controlled only by the number and position of the knots. The computational efficiency of the least squares spline may be retained and its principal disadvantage overcome, by adding a penalty term in the square of the second derivative to the minimized functional. We call this modified form a penalized least squares spline, (denoted by PS throughout this work), and illustrate its use in the removal of secular trends in long observatory records of geomagnetic field components. We may compare the effects of smoothing splines, least squares splines, and penalized least squares splines by treating them as equivalent variable-kernel smoothers. As Silverman has shown, the kernel associated with the smoothing spline is symmetric and is highly localized with small negative sidelobes. The kernel for the least squares spline with the same fit to the data has large oscillatory sidelobes that extend far from the central region; it can be asymmetric even in the middle of the interval. For large numbers of data the penalized least squares spline can achieve essentially identical performance to that of a smoothing spline, but at a greatly reduced computational cost. The penalized spline estimation technique has potential widespread applicability in the analysis of geomagnetic and paleomagnetic data. It may be used for the removal of long term trends in data, when either the trend or the residual is of interest.

Korte, M, Constable CG.  2008.  Spatial and temporal resolution of millennial scale geomagnetic field models. Advances in Space Research. 41:57-69.   10.1016/j.asr.2007.03.094   AbstractWebsite

We assess the resolution and reliability of CALS7xK, a recently developed family of global geomagnetic field models. CALS7xK are derived from archaeo- and palaeomagnetic data and provide a convenient temporally varying spherical harmonic description of field behaviour back to 5000 BC. They can be used for a wide range of studies from gaining a better understanding of the geodynamo in the Earth's core to enabling the efficient determination of the influence of the geomagnetic field on cosmogenic nuclide productions rates. The models are similar in form to those derived from modern satellite observations, observatory and historical data, and used for the International Geomagnetic Reference Field, but their spatial and temporal resolution are limited by data quality and distribution. We find that spatial power is fully resolved only up to spherical harmonic degree 4 and temporal resolution is of the order of 100 years. Significant end effects associated with the temporal development in natural B-splines affect some features of the models in both the earliest and most recent century. Uncertainties in model predictions of declination, inclination and field intensity in general are smaller than 2 degrees and 1.5 mu T respectively, but can be as large as 8 degrees and 5 mu T for certain regions and times. The resolution studies are complemented by a detailed presentation of dipole moment and dipole tilt as predicted by the model CALS7K.2. These largest scale features are resolved more reliably than complex details of the field structure and are useful, for example, in studies of geomagnetic cutoff rigidities of cosmogenic isotopes. (C) 2007 COSPAR. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Smith-Boughner, LT, Constable CG.  2012.  Spectral estimation for geophysical time-series with inconvenient gaps. Geophysical Journal International. 190:1404-1422.   10.1111/j.1365-246X.2012.05594.x   AbstractWebsite

The power of spectral estimation as a tool for studying geophysical processes is often limited by short records or breaks in available time-series. Direct spectral estimation using multitaper techniques designed to reduce variance and minimize leakage can help alleviate the first problem. For records with gaps, systematic interpolation or averaging of multitaper spectra derived from record fragments may prove adequate in some cases, but can be cumbersome to implement. Alternatively, multitapers can be modified for use in direct spectral estimation with intermittently sampled data. However, their performance has not been adequately studied. We investigate reliability and resolution of techniques that adapt prolate and minimum bias (MB) multitapers to accommodate the longest breaks in sampling, comparing the tapering functions (referred to as PRG or MBG tapers) with the standard prolate and MB tapers used for complete data series, and with the section-averaging approach. Using a synthetic data set, we test both jackknife and bootstrap methods to calculate confidence intervals for PRG and MBG multitaper spectral estimates and find the jackknife is both more accurate and faster to compute. To implement these techniques for a variety of data sets, we provide an algorithm that allows the user to balance judicious interpolation against the use of suitably adapted tapers, providing empirical measures of both bias and frequency resolution for candidate sets of tapers. These techniques are tested on diverse geophysical data sets: a record of change in the length of day, a model of the external dipole part of the geomagnetic field produced by the magnetospheric ring current, and a 12 Myr long irregularly sampled relative geomagnetic palaeointensity record with pernicious gaps. We conclude that both PRG and MBG tapers generally perform as well as, or better than, an optimized form of the commonly used section averaging approach. The greatest improvements seem to occur when the gap structure creates data segments of very unequal lengths. Ease of computation and more robust behaviour can make MBG tapers a better choice than PRG except when very fine-scale frequency resolution is required. These techniques could readily be applied for cross-spectral and transfer function estimation and are a useful addition to the geophysical toolbox.

Avery, MS, Constable CG, Davies CJ, Gubbins D.  2019.  Spectral methods for analyzing energy balances in geodynamo simulations. Physics of the Earth and Planetary Interiors. 286:127-137.   10.1016/j.pepi.2018.10.002   AbstractWebsite

The geomagnetic field displays complicated variations over a broad range of frequencies. These variations can be decomposed by frequency and linked to physical processes using frequency domain spectral methods. These spectral methods are well developed but have not previously been applied to study the energy balance of geodynamo simulations. We illustrate their potential by analyzing output from numerical dynamo simulations that have previously been studied for their apparently Earth-like properties. We show that high coherence between variations in axial dipole energy at the outer boundary of the simulation and total magnetic energy within the fluid shell occur at frequencies below similar to 0.1 kyr(-1). This suggests that paleomagnetically-observable signals with periods exceeding 10 kyrs contain information about magnetic energy changes in the bulk core. We then use spectral analysis to investigate differences in the rate of growth and decay of the axial dipole field. This behaviour, characterised by rapid growth and slow decay, is observed when signals with frequencies higher than 0.03 kyr(-1) have been filtered out. The origin of this asymmetric growth and decay is assessed using coherence spectra between rates of change in kinetic and magnetic energy, ohmic and viscous dissipation, and work done by the buoyancy and Lorentz forces. We show that asymmetry is associated with an imbalance between ohmic dissipation and work done by the Lorentz force; when changes in magnetic energy are more coherent with ohmic dissipation the field grows rapidly and decay slowly. Variations in Ohmic dissipation reflect changes in field strength in our models, while changes in viscous dissipation are associated with amplitude fluctuations of the large-scale flow that exists on millennial timescales. Our work shows that spectral analysis coupling observable and global products of the dynamo process can elucidate the physical origin of periodic processes occurring on timescales exceeding 10 kyrs.

McMillan, DG, Constable CG, Parker RL, Glatzmaier GA.  2001.  A statistical analysis of magnetic fields from some geodynamo simulations. Geochemistry Geophysics Geosystems. AbstractWebsite

We present a statistical analysis of magnetic fields simulated by the Glatzmaier-Roberts dynamically consistent dynamo model. For four simulations with distinct boundary conditions, means, standard deviations, and probability functions permit an evaluation based on existing statistical paleosecular variation (PSV) models. Although none closely fits the statistical PSV models in all respects, some simulations display characteristics of the statistical PSV models in individual tests. We also find that nonzonal field statistics do not necessarily reflect heat flow conditions at the core-mantle boundary. Multitaper estimates of power and coherence spectra allow analysis of time series of single, or groups of, spherical harmonic coefficients representing the magnetic fields of the dynamo simulations outside the core. Sliding window analyses of both power and coherence spectra from two of the simulations show that a 100 kyr averaging time is necessary to realize stationary statistics of their nondipole fields and that a length of 350 kyr is not long enough to full characterize their dipole fields. Spectral analysis provides new insight into the behavior and interaction of the dominant components of the simulated magnetic fields, the axial dipole and quadrupole. Although we find spectral similarities between several reversals, there is no evidence of signatures that can be conclusively associated with reversals or excursions. We test suggestions that during reversals there is increased coupling between groups of spherical harmonic components. Despite evidence of coupling between antisymmetric and symmetric spherical harmonics in one simulation, we conclude that it is rare and not directly linked to reversals. In contrast to the reversal model of R. T. Merrill and P. L. McFadden, we demonstrate that the geomagnetic power in the dipole part of the dynamo simulations is either relatively constant or fluctuates synchronously with that of the nondipole part and that coupling between antisymmetric and symmetric components occurs when the geomagnetic power is high.

Constable, CG, Parker RL.  1988.  Statistics of the Geomagntic Seculariation for the Past 5-MY. Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth and Planets. 93:11569-11581.   10.1029/JB093iB10p11569   AbstractWebsite

A new statistical model is proposed for the geomagnetic secular variation over the past 5 m.y. Unlike previous models, which have concentrated upon particular kinds of paleomagnetic observables, such as VGP or field direction, the new model provides a general probability density function from which the statistical distribution of any set of paleomagnetic measurements can be deduced. The spatial power spectrum of the present-day nondipole field is consistent with a white source near the core-mantle boundary with Gaussian distribution. After a suitable scaling, the spherical harmonic coefficients may be regarded as statistical samples from a single giant Gaussian process; this is our model of the nondipole field. Assuming that this characterization holds for the fields of the past, we can combine it with an arbitrary statistical description of the dipole. We compute the corresponding probability density functions and cumulative distribution functions for declination and inclination that would be observed at any site on the surface of the Earth. Global paleomagnetic data spanning the past 5 m.y. are used to constrain the free parameters of the model, i.e., those giving the dipole part of the field. The final model has these properties: (1) with two exceptions, each Gauss coefficient is independently normally distributed with zero mean and standard deviation for the nondipole terms commensurate with a white source at the core surface; (2) the exceptions are the axial dipole g1 and axial quadrupole g2 terms; the axial dipole distribution is bimodal and symmetric, resembling a combination of two normal distributions with centers close to the present-day value and its sign-reversed counterpart; (3) the standard deviations of the nonaxial dipole terms g11 and h11 and of the magnitude of the axial dipole are all about 10% of the present-day g1 component; and (4) the axial quadrupole reverses sign with the axial dipole and has a mean magnitude of 6% of its mean magnitude. The advantage of a model specified in terms of the spherical harmonic coefficients is that it is a complete statistical description of the geomagnetic field, capable of simultaneously satisfying many known properties of the field. Predictions about any measured field elements may be made to see if they satisfy the available data.

Buffett, BA, Ziegler L, Constable CG.  2013.  A stochastic model for palaeomagnetic field variations. Geophysical Journal International. 195:86-97.   10.1093/gji/ggt218   AbstractWebsite

Regeneration of the Earth's magnetic field by convection in the liquid core produces a broad spectrum of time variation. Relative palaeointensity measurements in marine sediments provide a detailed record over the past 2 Myr, but an explicit reconstruction of the underlying dynamics is not feasible. A more practical alternative is to construct a stochastic model from estimates of the virtual axial dipole moment. The deterministic part of the model (drift term) describes time-averaged behaviour, whereas the random part (diffusion term) characterizes complex interactions over convective timescales. We recover estimates of the drift and diffusion terms from the SINT2000 model of Valet et al. and the PADM2M model of Ziegler et al. The results are used in numerical solutions of the Fokker-Planck equation to predict statistical properties of the palaeomagnetic field, including the average rates of magnetic reversals and excursions. A physical interpretation of the stochastic model suggests that the timescale for adjustments in the axial dipole moment is set by the dipole decay time tau(d). We obtain tau(d) = 29 kyr from the stochastic models, which falls within the expected range for the Earth's core. We also predict the amplitude of convective fluctuations in the core, and establish a physical connection to the rates of magnetic reversals and excursions. Chrons lasting longer than 10 Myr are unlikely under present-day conditions. However, long chrons become more likely if the diffusion term is reduced by a factor of 2. Such a change is accomplished by reducing the velocity fluctuations in the core by a factor of root 2, which could be attributed to a shift in the spatial pattern of heat flux from the core or a reduction in the total core heat flow.