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McMillan, DG, Constable CG.  2006.  Limitations in correlation of regional relative geomagnetic paleointensity. Geochemistry Geophysics Geosystems. 7   10.1029/2006gc001350   AbstractWebsite

Time domain correlations of common features among relative paleointensity records from sedimentary cores are invaluable to paleomagnetism and paleoclimatology. Sediments with high accumulation rates might now provide millennial scale correlations of temporal variations in the geomagnetic dipole moment. Errors in the ages of paleomagnetic data samples, however, can make such correlations difficult and unreliable. We use spectral methods to assess the level of coherence expected among individual and stacked high- resolution simulated paleointensity records for the time interval 0 - 75 ka. Correlations between individual paleointensity records are systematically degraded with decreased sedimentation rate and increased magnitude of age errors. We find that with optimistic age errors and interpolation of depth sampled data to evenly spaced time series, only short period signal in high- resolution relative paleointensity is corrupted. For currently available methods of establishing chronologies, we estimate the minimum characteristic timescale of correlative features between pairs of regional stacked records at about 4.5 kyr. From an analysis of NAPIS- 75 and SAPIS data, it appears that the limit is inherent to the regional stacks and not a consequence of comparison of distant, independent data sets. A detailed comparison of the NAPIS- 75 and SAPIS stacks shows that this limit is likely larger, perhaps 6 kyr. At long periods the two regional stacks are more poorly correlated than those from our simulations, suggesting somewhat larger age errors in the individual paleointensity records.

Panovska, S, Korte M, Finlay CC, Constable CG.  2015.  Limitations in paleomagnetic data and modelling techniques and their impact on Holocene geomagnetic field models. Geophysical Journal International. 202:402-418.   10.1093/gji/ggv137   AbstractWebsite

Characterization of geomagnetic field behaviour on timescales of centuries to millennia is necessary to understand the mechanisms that sustain the geodynamo and drive its evolution. As Holocene paleomagnetic and archeomagnetic data have become more abundant, strategies for regularized inversion of modern field data have been adapted to produce numerous time-varying global field models. We evaluate the effectiveness of several approaches to inversion and data handling, by assessing both global and regional properties of the resulting models. Global Holocene field models cannot resolve Southern hemisphere regional field variations without the use of sediments. A standard data set is used to construct multiple models using two different strategies for relative paleointensity calibration and declination orientation and a selection of starting models in the inversion procedure. When data uncertainties are considered, the results are similar overall regardless of whether we use iterative calibration and reorientation, or co-estimation of the calibration and orientation parameters as part of the inversion procedure. In each case the quality of the starting model used for initial relative paleointensity calibration and declination orientation is crucial and must be based on the best absolute information available. Without adequate initial calibration the morphology of dipole moment variations can be recovered but its absolute value will be correlated with the initial intensity calibrations, an effect that might be mitigated by ensuring an appropriate fit to enough high quality absolute intensity data with low uncertainties. The declination reorientation mainly impacts regional field structure and in the presence of non-zonal fields will result in a non-zero local average. The importance of declination orientation is highlighted by inconsistencies in the West Pacific and Australian sediment records in CALS10k.1b model. Great care must also be taken to assess uncertainties associated with both paleomagnetic and age data and to evaluate the effects of poor data distribution. New consistently allocated uncertainty estimates for sediment paleomagnetic records highlight the importance of adequate uncertainties in the inversion process, as they determine the relative weighting among the data and overall normalized misfit levels which in turn influence the complexity of the inferred field models. Residual distributions suggest that the most appropriate misfit measure is the L-1 norm (minimum absolute deviation) rather than L-2 (least squares), but this seems to have relatively minor impact on the overall results. For future Holocene field modelling we see a need for comprehensive methods to assess uncertainty in individual archeomagnetic data so that these data or models derived from them can be used for reliable initial relative paleointensity calibration and declination orientation in sediments. More work will be needed to assess whether co-estimation or an iterative approach to inversion is more efficient overall. This would be facilitated by realistic and globally consistent data and age uncertainties from the paleomagnetic community.

McMillan, DG, Constable CG, Parker RL.  2002.  Limitations on stratigraphic analyses due to incomplete age control and their relevance to sedimentary paleomagnetism. Earth and Planetary Science Letters. 201:509-523.   10.1016/s0012-821x(02)00747-1   AbstractWebsite

A major limitation in the analysis of physical quantities measured from a stratigraphic core is incomplete knowledge of the depth to age relationship for the core. Records derived from diverse locations are often compared or combined to construct records that represent a global signal. Time series analysis of individual or combined records is commonly employed to seek quasi-periodic components or characterize the timescales of relevant physical processes. Assumptions that are frequently made in the approximation of depth to age relationships can have a dramatic and harmful effect on the spectral content of records from stratigraphic cores. A common procedure for estimating ages in a set of samples from a stratigraphic core is to assign, based on complementary data, the ages at a number of depths (tie points) and then assume a uniform accumulation rate between the tie points. Imprecisely dated or misidentified tie points and naturally varying accumulation rates give rise to discrepancies between the inferred and the actual ages of a sample. We develop a statistical model for age uncertainties in stratigraphic cores that treats the true, but in practice unknown, ages of core samples as random variables. For inaccuracies in the ages of tie points, we draw the error from a zero-mean normal distribution. For a variable accumulation rate, we require the actual ages of a sequence of samples to be monotonically increasing and the age errors to have the form of a Brownian bridge. That is, the errors are zero at the tie points. The actual ages are modeled by integrating a piecewise constant, randomly varying accumulation rate. In each case, our analysis yields closed form expressions for the expected value and variance of resulting errors in age at any depth in the core. By Monte Carlo simulation with plausible parameters, we find that age errors across a paleomagnetic record due to misdated tie points are likely of the same order as the tie point discrepancies. Those due to accumulation rate variations can be as large as 30 kyr, but are probably less than 10 kyr. We provide a method by which error estimates like these can be made for similar stratigraphic dating problems and apply our statistical model to an idealized marine sedimentary paleomagnetic record. Both types of errors severely degrade the spectral content of the inferred record. We quantify these effects using realistic tie point ages, their uncertainties and depositional parameters. (C) 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.

Constable, C.  1992.  Link Between Geomagnetic Reversal Paths And Secular Variation Of The Field Over The Past 5 MY. Nature. 358:230-233.   10.1038/358230a0   AbstractWebsite

PALAEOMAGNETIC records provide information about the behaviour of the geomagnetic field during reversals1,2. Existing records are incompatible with transitional field configurations that are either entirely dipolar or entirely zonal (dependent only on latitude)3,4. Recent compilations5-8 have indicated that the transitional paths of virtual geomagnetic poles (VGPs) for the past few reversals are located preferentially within two antipodal longitudinal bands, suggesting that simple but non-zonal field configurations dominate during reversals. Here I point out that one of the longitudinal bands coincides with that expected from the reversal of a non-axial-dipole field exactly like that present today; the other requires only a sign change in the non-axial-dipole terms of today's field. Evidence for persistent non-zonal contributions to the field has generally9-13 (but not always14,15) been regarded as not statistically significant in the light of poor data distributions. I show here that a non-zonal bias, similar to that observed in reversal data, is evident in data on secular variation of the field over the past 5 Myr, even after normalization according to site locations. These results suggest that the time-averaged field does indeed contain persistent (but not constant) non-zonal contributions.

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Hulot, G, Finlay CC, Constable CG, Olsen N, Mandea M.  2010.  The Magnetic Field of Planet Earth. Space Science Reviews. 152:159-222.   10.1007/s11214-010-9644-0   AbstractWebsite

The magnetic field of the Earth is by far the best documented magnetic field of all known planets. Considerable progress has been made in our understanding of its characteristics and properties, thanks to the convergence of many different approaches and to the remarkable fact that surface rocks have quietly recorded much of its history. The usefulness of magnetic field charts for navigation and the dedication of a few individuals have also led to the patient construction of some of the longest series of quantitative observations in the history of science. More recently even more systematic observations have been made possible from space, leading to the possibility of observing the Earth's magnetic field in much more details than was previously possible. The progressive increase in computer power was also crucial, leading to advanced ways of handling and analyzing this considerable corpus of data. This possibility, together with the recent development of numerical simulations, has led to the development of a very active field in Earth science. In this paper, we make an attempt to provide an overview of where the scientific community currently stands in terms of observing, interpreting and understanding the past and present behavior of the so-called main magnetic field produced within the Earth's core. The various types of data are introduced and their specific properties explained. The way those data can be used to derive the time evolution of the core field, when this is possible, or statistical information, when no other option is available, is next described. Special care is taken to explain how information derived from each type of data can be patched together into a consistent description of how the core field has been behaving in the past. Interpretations of this behavior, from the shortest (1 yr) to the longest (virtually the age of the Earth) time scales are finally reviewed, underlining the respective roles of the magnetohydodynamics at work in the core, and of the slow dynamic evolution of the planet as a whole.

O'Brien, MS, Parker RL, Constable CG.  1999.  Magnetic power spectrum of the ocean crust on large scales. Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth. 104:29189-29201.   10.1029/1999jb900302   AbstractWebsite

The geomagnetic power spectrum R-l is the squared magnetic field in each spherical harmonic degree averaged over a spherical surface. Satellite measurements have given reliable estimates of the spectrum for the part that originates in the core, but above I = 15, where the geomagnetic field arises primarily from crustal magnetization, there is considerable disagreement between various estimates derived from observation. Furthermore, several theoretical models for the spectrum disagree with each other and the data. We have examined observations from a different source, 5000-km-long Project Magnet aeromagnetic survey lines; we make new estimates of the spectrum which overlap with the wavelength interval accessible to the satellites. The usual way the spectrum is derived from observation is to construct a large spherical harmonic decomposition first, then square, weight, and add the Gauss coefficients in each degree, but this method cannot be applied to isolated flight lines. Instead, we apply a statistical technique based on an idea of McLeod and Coleman which relates the geomagnetic spectrum to the power and cross spectra of magnetic field components measured on the survey lines. Power spectra from the 17 aeromagnetic surveys, all of which were conducted over the oceans, are averaged together to improve geographic coverage and reduce variance, and the average spectra are then inverted for the geomagnetic spectrum R-l. Like most of the theoretical models, our spectrum exhibits a maximum, but at a wavelength of 100 km, about a factor of 2 smaller than the closest theoretical prediction. Our spectrum agrees quite well with the most recent estimates based on satellite observations in the range 20 less than or equal to l less than or equal to 50, but above l=50, our values increase slowly, while all the satellite data suggest a sharply rising curve. In this wavelength range we believe our measurements are more trustworthy. Further work is planned to confirm the accuracy of our spectrum when continental survey paths are included.

Jackson, A, Constable C, Gillet N.  2007.  Maximum entropy regularization of the geomagnetic core field inverse problem. Geophysical Journal International. 171:995-1004.   10.1111/j.1365-246X.2007.03530.x   AbstractWebsite

The maximum entropy technique is an accepted method of image reconstruction when the image is made up of pixels of unknown positive intensity (e.g. a grey-scale image). The problem of reconstructing the magnetic field at the core-mantle boundary from surface data is a problem where the target image, the value of the radial field B-r, can be of either sign. We adopt a known extension of the usual maximum entropy method that can be applied to images consisting of pixels of unconstrained sign. We find that we are able to construct images which have high dynamic ranges, but which still have very simple structure. In the spherical harmonic domain they have smoothly decreasing power spectra. It is also noteworthy that these models have far less complex null flux curve topology (lines on which the radial field vanishes) than do models which are quadratically regularized. Problems such as the one addressed are ubiquitous in geophysics, and it is suggested that the applications of the method could be much more widespread than is currently the case.

Donadini, F, Korte M, Constable C.  2010.  Millennial Variations of the Geomagnetic Field: from Data Recovery to Field Reconstruction. Space Science Reviews. 155:219-246.   10.1007/s11214-010-9662-y   AbstractWebsite

Variations of the geomagnetic field over past millennia can be determined from archeomagnetic data and paleomagnetic sediment records. The resolution and validity of any field reconstruction depends on the reliability of such indirect measurements of past field values. Considerable effort is invested to ensure that the magnetic minerals carrying the ancient magnetization are good, if not ideal, recorders of the magnetic field. This is achieved by performing a wide array of rock magnetic and microscopy investigations, many of which are outlined here. In addition to data quality, the spatial and temporal distributions of archeomagnetic and sediment records play a significant role in the accuracy of past field reconstruction. Global field reconstructions enable studies of dynamic processes in Earth's core. They rely on data compilations which ideally include information about the quality of a measurement and provide a useful archive for selecting data with the best characteristics. There is, however, a trade off between the total number of reliable data and the geographic or temporal coverage. In this review we describe the various types of paleomagnetic recorders, and the kind of measurements that are performed to gather reliable geomagnetic field information. We show which modeling strategies are most suitable, and the main features of the field that can be derived from the resulting models. Finally, we discuss prospects for progress in this kind of research.

Constable, CG.  2011.  Modelling the geomagnetic field from syntheses of paleomagnetic data. Physics of the Earth and Planetary Interiors. 187:109-117.   10.1016/j.pepi.2011.05.004   AbstractWebsite

This review examines results from time-varying geomagnetic field models that span several thousand years, and from variations in dipole moment strength up to million year time scales. For the past 400 years, twin magnetic flux lobes bordering the inner core tangent cylinder in both northern and southern hemispheres dominate the geomagnetic field and appear more or less fixed in location. In contrast, the millennial scale view shows that such features are quite mobile and subject to morphological changes on time scales of a few centuries to a thousand years, possibly reflecting large scale reorganization of core flow. The lobes rarely venture into the Pacific hemisphere, and average fields over various time scales generally reveal two or three sets of lobes, of diminished amplitude. Thus millennial scale models are suggestive of thermal core-mantle coupling generating a weak bias in the average field rather than a strong inhibition of large scale field changes. The recovery of variations in dipole moment on million year time scales allows frequency domain analyses to search for characteristic time scales for core dynamics that might be associated with excursion and reversal rate, time taken for reversals, or any signs of control by Earth's orbital parameters. The spectrum is characteristically red for the time interval 0-160 Ma, suggesting non-stationarity associated with average reversal rate changes, probably reflecting the impact of superchrons and a continually evolving core. Distinct regimes of power law decay with frequency may reflect different physical processes contributing to the secular variation. Evidence for non-stationarity at shorter time-scales is also present in dipole moment variations over 0-2 Ma with average growth rate faster than the decay process. Rates of change of dipole moment and rapid local field variations found in the paleomagnetic record are evaluated in the context of the 400 year historical record and the spectrum of geomagnetic variations for 0-160 Ma. (C) 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Jackson, A, Constable CG, Walker MR, Parker RL.  2007.  Models of Earth's main magnetic field incorporating flux and radial vorticity constraints. Geophysical Journal International. 171:133-144.   10.1111/j.1365-246X.2007.03526.x   AbstractWebsite

We describe a new technique for implementing the constraints on magnetic fields arising from two hypotheses about the fluid core of the Earth, namely the frozen-flux hypothesis and the hypothesis that the core is in magnetostrophic force balance with negligible leakage of current into the mantle. These hypotheses lead to time-independence of the integrated flux through certain 'null-flux patches' on the core surface, and to time-independence of their radial vorticity. Although the frozen-flux hypothesis has received attention before, constraining the radial vorticity has not previously been attempted. We describe a parametrization and an algorithm for preserving topology of radial magnetic fields at the core surface while allowing morphological changes. The parametrization is a spherical triangle tesselation of the core surface. Topology with respect to a reference model (based on data from the Oersted satellite) is preserved as models at different epochs are perturbed to optimize the fit to the data; the topology preservation is achieved by the imposition of inequality constraints on the model, and the optimization at each iteration is cast as a bounded value least-squares problem. For epochs 2000, 1980, 1945, 1915 and 1882 we are able to produce models of the core field which are consistent with flux and radial vorticity conservation, thus providing no observational evidence for the failure of the underlying assumptions. These models are a step towards the production of models which are optimal for the retrieval of frozen-flux velocity fields at the core surface.

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Cronin, M, Tauxe L, Constable C, Selkin P, Pick T.  2001.  Noise in the quiet zone. Earth and Planetary Science Letters. 190:13-30.   10.1016/s0012-821x(01)00354-5   AbstractWebsite

We have carried out a detailed paleomagnetic investigation of two stratigraphically overlapping sections from the Scaglia Bianca Formation (similar to 85-89.5 Ma) in the Umbria-Marche area in central Italy. Sampling was conducted over 32 in and 7 in intervals at La Roccaccia and Furlo respectively. After AF cleaning the majority of specimens show the expected normal magnetic field orientation, however a number of specimens are directionally anomalous. Some of these deviant specimens are accompanied by apparent spikes or dips in normalized intensity. A detailed investigation of rock magnetics shows that most of these deviations are not a sign of excursionary geomagnetic field behavior, but rather correspond to specimens with distinct rock magnetic characteristics and are therefore rock magnetic 'noise'. Such specimens should not be interpreted as records of the geomagnetic field. Our experience suggests that detailed rock magnetic and magnetic fabric analysis should be done on all anomalous directions prior to interpreting them as geomagnetic field behavior. After elimination of rock magnetic noise in the Scaglia Bianca data sets, there is a high degree of agreement in direction and to a lesser extent relative intensity between correlative portions of the two sections. We therefore offer this data set as a robust record of geomagnetic field behavior during the 4.5 Myr interval represented by the La Roccaccia section. A statistical analysis of the relative intensity observations suggests that this period of the Cretaceous Normal Superchron is characterized by a normalized variability in paleointensity (standard deviation about 28% of the mean value) that is significantly lower than seen during the Oligocene over intervals in which reversals or tiny wiggles occur (typically about 50%). The directional stability results in virtual geomagnetic pole dispersion compatible with that found in volcanic rocks from around the same latitude and ranging in age from 80 to 110 Ma. (C) 2001 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.

Constable, C.  2007.  Non-dipole field. Encyclopedia of geomagnetism and paleomagnetism. ( Gubbins D, Herrero-Bervera E, Eds.).:701-704., Dordrecht: Springer Abstract
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Constable, S, Constable C.  2004.  Observing geomagnetic induction in magnetic satellite measurements and associated implications for mantle conductivity. Geochemistry Geophysics Geosystems. 5   10.1029/2003gc000634   AbstractWebsite

Currents induced in Earth by temporal variations in the external magnetic field have long been used to probe mantle electrical conductivity, but almost exclusively from sparsely distributed land observatories. Satellite-borne magnetometers, such as flown on Magsat, Orsted, and Champ, offer the prospect of improved spatial coverage. The approach we have taken is to isolate induction by harmonic Dst ("disturbance storm time'') excitation of the magnetospheric ring current in satellite magnetic measurements: this is done by removing the magnetic contributions of the main (core) magnetic field, the crustal magnetic field, and ionospheric fields (cause of the daily variation) using Sabaka et al.' s [2000, 2002] CMP3 comprehensive model. The Dst signal is then clearly evident in the midlatitude satellite passes lower than 50 degrees geomagnetic latitude. At higher latitudes, auroral and field aligned currents contaminate the data. We fit the internal and external components of the Dst signal for each equatorial pass, exploiting the fact that the geometry for the internal and external components is different for the azimuthal and radial vector components. The resulting timeseries of internal and external field variations shows that the Dst signals for the dawn passes are half those of the dusk passes. The sum of equatorial external and internal components of the field averaged over dawn and dusk passes provides an excellent estimate for the Dst index, and may in fact be superior when used as a proxy for the purposes of removing induced and magnetospheric fields from satellite magnetic data. We call this estimate satellite Dst. Cross spectral analysis of the internal and external timeseries shows both greater power and higher coherence in the dusk data. We processed the transfer function between internal and external dusk timeseries to provide globally-averaged, frequency dependent impedances that agree well with independently derived estimates. We estimate Earth's radial electrical conductivity structure from these impedances using standard regularized inversion techniques. A near-surface conductor is required, of thickness less than 10 km with a conductivity-thickness product almost exactly that of an average Earth ocean. Inversions suggest that an increase in conductivity at 440 km depth, predicted by recent laboratory measurements on high pressure phases of olivine, is not favored by the data, although, as in previous studies, the 670 km discontinuity between the upper and lower mantle is associated with a two orders of magnitude jump in conductivity. A new feature in our inversions is a further increase in lower mantle conductivity at a depth of 1300 km. A global map of the internal (induced) component of the magnetic field provides a qualitative estimate of three-dimensional (3-D) variations in Earth electrical conductivity, demonstrating graphically that the satellite data are responsive to lateral variations in electrical conductivity caused by the continents and oceans.

Constable, SC, Parker RL, Constable CG.  1987.  OCCAMS Inversion - A Practical Algorithm for Generating Smooth Models From Electromagnetic Sounding Data. Geophysics. 52:289-300.   10.1190/1.1442303   AbstractWebsite

The inversion of electromagnetic sounding data does not yield a unique solution, but inevitably a single model to interpret the observations is sought. We recommend that this model be as simple, or smooth, as possible, in order to reduce the temptation to overinterpret the data and to eliminate arbitrary discontinuities in simple layered models. To obtain smooth models, the nonlinear forward problem is linearized about a starting model in the usual way, but it is then solved explicitly for the desired model rather than for a model correction. By parameterizing the model in terms of its first or second derivative with depth, the minimum norm solution yields the smoothest possible model. Rather than fitting the experimental data as well as possible (which maximizes the roughness of the model), the smoothest model which fits the data to within an expected tolerance is sought. A practical scheme is developed which optimizes the step size at each iteration and retains the computational efficiency of layered models, resulting in a stable and rapidly convergent algorithm. The inversion of both magnetotelluric and Schlumberger sounding field data, and a joint magnetotelluric‐resistivity inversion, demonstrate the method and show it to have practical application.

Constable, C.  2000.  On rates of occurrence of geomagnetic reversals. Physics of the Earth and Planetary Interiors. 118:181-193.   10.1016/s0031-9201(99)00139-9   AbstractWebsite

The magnetostratigraphic time scale provides a record of the occurrence of geomagnetic reversals. The temporal distribution of reversals may be modelled as the realization of an inhomogeneous renewal process; i.e., one in which the intensity, lambda(t), or reversal rate is a function of time. Variations in reversal rate occurring on time scales of tens of millions of years an believed to reflect changes in core-mantle boundary conditions influencing the structure of core flow and the field produced by the geodynamo. We present a new estimate for reversal rate variations as a function of time using nonparametric adaptive kernel density estimation and discuss the difficulties in making inferences on the basis of such estimates. Using a technique proposed by Hengartner and Stark (1992a; b; 1995), it is possible to compute confidence bounds on the temporal probability density function for geomagnetic reversals. The method allows the computation of a lower bound on the number of modes required by the observations, thus enabling a test of whether "bumps" are required features of the reversal rate function. Conservative 95% confidence intervals can then be calculated for the temporal location of a single mode or antimode of the probability density function. Using observations from the time interval 0-158 Ma, it is found that the derivative of the rate function must have changed sign at least once. The timing of this sign change is constrained to be between 152.56 and 22.46 Ma the 95% confidence level. Confidence bounds are computed for the reversal rate under the assumption that the observed reversals are a realization of an inhomogenous Poisson or other renewal process with an arbitrary monotonically increasing rate function from the end of the Cretaceous Normal Superchron (CNS) to the present, a zero rate during the CNS, and a monotonically decreasing rate function from M29R at 158 Ma to the onset of the CNS. It is unnecessary to invoke more than one sign change in the derivative of the rare function to fit the observations. There is no incompatibility between our results and a recent assertion that there is an asymmetry in average reversal rate prior to and after the CNS, when the CNS is assumed to be a period of zero reversal rate. Neither can we use our results to reject an alternative hypothesis that rates are essentially constant from 158 to 130 Ma, and from 25 Ma to the present. with an intermediate nonstationary segment. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.

Korte, M, Constable CG.  2006.  On the use of calibrated relative paleointensity records to improve millennial-scale geomagnetic field models. Geochemistry Geophysics Geosystems. 7   10.1029/2006gc001368   AbstractWebsite

[ 1] Current millennial-scale time-varying global geomagnetic field models suffer from a lack of intensity data compared to directional data, because only thermoremanently magnetized material can provide absolute information about the past field strength. The number of archeomagnetic artifacts that can provide such data diminishes rapidly prior to 3000 B. C. Sediment cores provide time series of declination and inclination and of variations of magnetization: the latter can reflect relative geomagnetic field variations if suitably normalized. We propose a calibration technique based on predictions from global models and use the CALS7K. 2 model to calibrate relative paleointensity records from 22 globally distributed locations and assess whether they reflect actual field variations. All except a few contain useful information for 0 to 7 ka and could be used to improve the existing models. Using synthetic data from a numerical dynamo simulation, we show that with the existing directional data the distribution of intensity data has an important influence on model quality. Intensity data from a broad range of latitudes seem particularly important. This study opens the possibility of extending global time-varying geomagnetic field models further back in time than the current 7 kyr interval.

Olsen, N, Holme R, Hulot G, Sabaka T, Neubert T, Toffner-Clausen L, Primdahl F, Jorgensen J, Leger JM, Barraclough D, Bloxham J, Cain J, Constable C, Golovkov V, Jackson A, Kotze P, Langlais B, Macmillan S, Mandea M, Merayo J, Newitt L, Purucker M, Risbo T, Stampe M, Thomson A, Voorhies C.  2000.  Orsted initial field model. Geophysical Research Letters. 27:3607-3610.   10.1029/2000gl011930   AbstractWebsite

Magnetic measurements taken by the Orsted satellite during geomagnetic quiet conditions around January 1, 2000 have been used to derive a spherical harmonic model of the Earth's magnetic field for epoch 2000.0. The maximum degree and order of the model is 19 for internal, and 2 for external, source fields; however, coefficients above degree 14 may not be robust. Such a detailed model exists for only one previous epoch, 1980. Achieved rms misfit is < 2 nT for the scalar intensity and < 3 nT for one of the vector components perpendicular to the magnetic field. For scientific purposes related to the Orsted mission, this model supercedes IGRF 2000.

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Ziegler, LB, Constable CG, Johnson CL, Tauxe L.  2011.  PADM2M: a penalized maximum likelihood model of the 0-2 Ma palaeomagnetic axial dipole moment. Geophysical Journal International. 184:1069-1089.   10.1111/j.1365-246X.2010.04905.x   AbstractWebsite

P>We present a new time-varying model for palaeomagnetic axial dipole moment (PADM) for the past 2 Myr and compare it with earlier virtual axial dipole moment (VADM) reconstructions which have been based on stacking and averaging scaled relative palaeointensity records. The PADM is derived from both absolute and relative palaeointensity data and constructed using a new penalized maximum likelihood (PML) approach to recover a cubic B-spline representation of axial-dipole field variations on million year timescales. The PML method is explicitly intended to reduce bias in estimating the true axial dipole moment that arises in average VADM reconstructions. We apply the PML method to a set of 96 032 published data (1800 palaeointensities from igneous rocks, 3300 archaeointensities and 86 relative palaeointensity time-series of variable lengths and resolutions). Two models are discussed: PADM2Mp is a trial model based on a subset of the nine longest available sedimentary records; PADM2M uses a comprehensive data set (76 records, 81 446 data; 10 records were eliminated) and is our preferred model. PADM2M has a lower mean than existing VADM reconstructions but shows similarities in long-period variability. Some differences in timing, amplitude and resolution of certain features can be attributed to variations in age assignments. Others result from our more comprehensive data set and a reduction in bias attributable to PML modelling. PADM2M has an average axial dipole moment over 0-2 Ma of 5.3 x 1022 Am2 with a standard deviation of 1.5 x 1022 Am2. The Brunhes chron average (6.2 x 1022 Am2) is higher than for earlier epochs of Matuyama (4.8 x 1022 Am2), as seen in some previous studies. The power spectrum for our model agrees with previous estimates of the global palaeomagnetic power spectrum for frequencies up to about 102 Myr-1. We see no distinctive evidence in the power spectrum for orbital forcing of geodynamo behaviour.

Johnson, CL, Constable CG.  1996.  Palaeosecular variation recorded by lava flows over the past five million years. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London Series a-Mathematical Physical and Engineering Sciences. 354:89-141.   10.1098/rsta.1996.0004   AbstractWebsite

We present a new global palaeomagnetic database, comprising lava flows and thin intrusive bodies, suitable for studying palaeosecular variation and the time-averaged field. The database is presented in some detail in the appendix and is available oil-line from the authors. We review palaeosecular variation models to date, emphasizing the assumptions required and the rather arbitrary construction of many of these models, Preliminary studies of the statistical properties of the new database suggest that existing palaeosecular variation models are inadequate to explain the long-term temporal variations in the field. It is increasingly apparent that data distribution and duality are pivotal in determining the characteristics of the secular variation. The work presented here demonstrates the need for revised models of the time-averaged field structure for both normal and reverse polarities before reliable models for palaeosecular variation can be made.

Constable, CG, Tauxe L.  1987.  Paleointensity In The Pelagic Realm - Marine Sediment Data Compared With Archaeomagnetic And Lake Sediment Records. Geophysical Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society. 90:43-59.   10.1111/j.1365-246X.1987.tb00674.x   AbstractWebsite

Four box cores collected from the Ontong—Java plateau during the Eurydice expedition have been used to make relative geomagnetic palaeo-intensity measurements. Rock magnetic measurements on the sediments show that they are characterized by a uniform magnetic mineralogy, and that they are suitable for relative intensity estimates. These are obtained by normalizing the NRM by an ARM imparted in a low DC bias field. the palaeoceanographic event known as the preservation spike is used to establish a crude time-scale for the record so that it may be compared with other data from the same region, and also with global palaeointensity estimates. the marine sediment data are quite similar to Australian intensity data from lake sediments and archaeomagnetic sources, but as might be expected exhibit some obvious differences from the global record.

Lawrence, KP, Tauxe L, Staudigel H, Constable CG, Koppers A, McIntosh W, Johnson CL.  2009.  Paleomagnetic field properties at high southern latitude. Geochemistry Geophysics Geosystems. 10   10.1029/2008gc002072   AbstractWebsite

Statistical analyses of paleomagnetic data from lava flows are used to study geomagnetic field behavior on million year timescales. Previous paleomagnetic studies have lacked high-latitude measurements necessary to investigate the persistence of geomagnetic anomalies observed in the recent and historical field and replicated in some numerical geodynamo simulations. These simulations suggest that reduced convective flow inside the tangent cylinder may affect the magnetic field at high latitude, whereas lower-latitude observations are expressions of columnar/helical flow outside the tangent cylinder. This paper presents new paleointensity and paleodirectional data from 100 volcanic sites in the Erebus Volcanic Province (EVP), Antarctica, and 21 new age determinations by the (40)Ar/(39)Ar incremental heating method. The new EVP data are combined with previously published paleomagnetic and geochronological results, providing 133 sites, 91 having radioisotopic dates. Modified Thellier-Thellier paleointensity estimates are reported for 47 sites (37 have dates). Ages for the combined data set span 0.03 to 13.42 Ma. The 125 high-quality EVP directional data selected from the merged data set have a non-Fisherian distribution and a mean direction with an inclination anomaly of similar to 3 degrees, but 95% confidence limits include the prediction from a geocentric axial dipole. Virtual geomagnetic pole (VGP) dispersions for Brunhes, Matuyama, and the combined 0-5 Ma data set are consistently high compared with values from middle-to low-latitude regions regardless of the criterion used to determine transitional fields. With VGP latitude cut off at 45 degrees, the dispersion (23.9 +/-2.1 degrees) for the combined 0-5 Ma EVP data set is consistent with earlier high-latitude data and paleosecular variation (PSV) in Model G but not with some more recent statistical PSV models. Mean EVP paleointensity of 31.5 +/-2.4 mu T, derived from 41 high-quality sites, is about half the current value at McMurdo (similar to 63 mu T). The result is essentially independent of data selection criteria. High VGP dispersion and low-intensity values support the global observation of anticorrelation between directional variability and field strength. Simulations of time-varying dipole strength show that uneven temporal sampling may bias the mean EVP intensity estimate, but the possibility of persistently anomalous field behavior at high latitude cannot be excluded.

Constable, C, Johnson C.  2005.  A paleomagnetic power spectrum. Physics of the Earth and Planetary Interiors. 153:61-73.   10.1016/j.pepi.2005.03.015   AbstractWebsite

We construct a power spectrum of geomagnetic dipole moment variations or their proxies that spans the period range from some tens of million down to about 100 years. Empirical estimates of the spectrum are derived from the magnetostratigraphic time scale, from marine sediment relative paleointensity records, and from a time varying paleomagnetic field model for the past 7 kyr. The spectrum has the most power at long periods, reflecting the influence of geomagnetic reversals and in general decreases with increasing frequency (decreasing period). The empirical spectrum is compared with predictions from simple models. Discrepancies between the observed and predicted spectra are discussed in the context of: (i) changes in reversal rate, (ii) overall average reversal rate, (iii) cryptochrons, (iv) the time taken for a reversal to occur, and (v) long term paleosecular variations and average estimates of the field strength and variance from other sources. (c) 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Tauxe, L, Constable C, Johnson CL, Koppers AAP, Miller WR, Staudigel H.  2003.  Paleomagnetism of the southwestern USA recorded by 0-5 Ma igneous rocks. Geochemistry Geophysics Geosystems. 4   10.1029/2002gc000343   AbstractWebsite

The issue of permanent nondipole contributions to the time-averaged field lies at the very heart of paleomagnetism and the study of the ancient geomagnetic field. In this paper we focus on paleomagnetic directional results from igneous rocks of the southwestern U. S. A. in the age range 0-5 Ma and investigate both the time-averaged field and its variability about the mean value. Several decades of work in the southwestern United States have resulted in the publication of paleomagnetic data from over 800 individual paleomagnetic sites. As part of a new investigation of the San Francisco Volcanics, we collected paleomagnetic samples from 47 lava flows, many of which have been previously dated. The new data combined with published data are highly scattered. Contributions to the scatter were considered, and we find that removal of data sets from tectonically active areas and judicious selection according to Fisher's [1953] precision parameter results in an axially symmetric data distribution with normal and reverse modes that are indistinguishable from antipodal. Monte Carlo simulations suggest that a minimum of 5 samples per site are needed to estimate the precision parameter sufficiently accurately to allow its use as a determinant of data quality. Numerical simulations from statistical paleosecular variation models indicate the need for several hundred paleomagnetic sites to get an accurate determination of the average field direction and are also used to investigate the directional bias that results from averaging unit vectors rather than using the full field vector. Average directions for the southwestern U. S. A. show small deviations from a geocentric axial dipole field, but these cannot be considered statistically significant. Virtual geomagnetic pole (VGP) dispersions are consistent with those from globally distributed observations analyzed by McElhinny and McFadden [1997]. However, a systematic investigation of the effect of imposing a cutoff on VGPs with large deviations from the geographic axis indicates that while it may reduce bias in calculating the average direction, such a procedure can result in severe underestimates of the variance in the geomagnetic field. A more satisfactory solution would be to use an unbiased technique for joint estimation of the mean direction and variance of the field distribution.

Lawrence, KP, Constable CG, Johnson CL.  2006.  Paleosecular variation and the average geomagnetic field at +/- 20 degrees latitude. Geochemistry Geophysics Geosystems. 7   10.1029/2005gc001181   AbstractWebsite

[1] We assembled a new paleomagnetic directional data set from lava flows and thin dikes for four regions centered on +/-20 degrees latitude: Hawaii, Mexico, the South Pacific, and Reunion. We investigate geomagnetic field behavior over the past 5 Myr and address whether geographical differences are recorded by our data set. We include inclination data from other globally distributed sites with the +/-20 degrees data to determine the best fitting time-averaged field (TAF) for a two-parameter longitudinally symmetric (zonal) model. Values for our model parameters, the axial quadrupole and octupole terms, are 4% and 6% of the axial dipole, respectively. Our estimate of the quadrupole term is compatible with most previous studies of deviations from a geocentric axial dipole (GAD) field. Our estimated octupole term is larger than that from normal polarity continental and igneous rocks, and oceanic sediments, but consistent with that from reversed polarity continental and igneous rocks. The variance reduction compared with a GAD field is similar to 12%, and the remaining signal is attributed to paleosecular variation (PSV). We examine PSV at +/-20 degrees using virtual geomagnetic pole (VGP) dispersion and comparisons of directional distributions with simulations from two statistical models. Regionally, the Hawaii and Reunion data sets lack transitional magnetic directions and have similar inclination anomalies and VGP dispersion. In the Pacific hemisphere, Hawaii has a large inclination anomaly, and the South Pacific exhibits high PSV. The deviation of the TAF from a GAD contradicts earlier ideas of a "Pacific dipole window,'' and the strong regional PSV in the South Pacific contrasts with the generally low secular variation found on short timescales. The TAF and PSV at Hawaii and Reunion are distinct from values for the South Pacific and Mexico, demonstrating the need for time-averaged and paleosecular variation models that can describe nonzonal field structures. Investigations of zonal statistical PSV models reveal that recent models are incompatible with the empirical +/-20 degrees directional distributions and cannot fit the data by simply adjusting relative variance contributions to the PSV. The +/-20 degrees latitude data set also suggests less PSV and smaller persistent deviations from a geocentric axial dipole field during the Brunhes.

Constable, CG.  1988.  Parameter-Estimation In Non-Gaussian Noise. Geophysical Journal-Oxford. 94:131-142.   10.1111/j.1365-246X.1988.tb03433.x   AbstractWebsite

Least squares (LS) estimation of model parameters is widely used in geophysics. If the data errors are Gaussian and independent the LS estimators will be maximum likelihood (ML) estimators and will be unbiased and of minimum variance. However, if the noise is not Gaussian, e.g. if the data are contaminated by extreme outliers, LS fitting will result in parameter estimates which may be biased or grossly inaccurate. When the probability distribution of the errors is known it is possible, using the maximum likelihood method, to obtain consistent and efficient (minimum variance) estimates of parameters. In some cases the distribution of the noise may be determined empirically, and the resulting distribution used in the ML estimation. A procedure for doing this is described here. Hourly values of geomagnetic observatory data are used to illustrate the technique. These data sets contain a number of periodic components, whose amplitudes and phases are geophysically interesting. Geomagnetic storms and other phenomena in the record make the noise distribution long-tailed, asymmetric and variable with location. Using an iterative procedure, one can model the form of these distributions using smoothing splines. For these data ML estimation yields quite different results from standard robust and LS procedures. The technique has the potential for widespread application to other problems involving the recovery of a known form of signal from non-Gaussian noise.