ESA’s Swarm satellites map Earth’s magnetic field

ESA’s Swarm satellites map Earth’s magnetic field

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ESA Swarm constellation to measure earth's magnetic field
ESA Swarm constellation to measure earth’s magnetic field


France:
Launched at the end of 2013, the ESA’s Swarm satellite is measuring and untangling the different magnetic signals from Earth’s core, mantle, crust, oceans, ionosphere and magnetosphere – a task that will take several years to complete. Although invisible, the magnetic field and electric currents in and around Earth generate complex forces that have immeasurable effects on our everyday lives.

Latest results from the constellation of Swarm satellites show where our protective field is weakening and strengthening, and importantly how fast these changes are taking place. As well as recent data from the Swarm constellation, information from the CHAMP and Ørsted satellites were also used to create the map.

Chris Finlay, senior scientist at DTU Space in Denmark, said, “Swarm data are now enabling us to map detailed changes in Earth’s magnetic field, not just at Earth’s surface but also down at the edge of its source region in the core.

“Unexpectedly, we are finding rapid localised field changes that seem to be a result of accelerations of liquid metal flowing within the core.”

Rune Floberghagen, ESA’s Swarm mission manager, added, “Two and a half years after the mission was launched it is great to see that Swarm is mapping the magnetic field and its variations with phenomenal precision.

“The quality of the data is truly excellent, and this paves the way for a profusion of scientific applications as the data continue to be exploited.”

It is clear that ESA’s innovative Swarm mission is providing new insights into our changing magnetic field. Further results are expected to lead to new information on many natural processes, from those occurring deep inside the planet to weather in space caused by solar activity.

Source: ESA