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A new high-resolution geomagnetic field model for southern Africa

Amore E. Nel
Achim Morschhauser
Foteini Vervelidou
Jürgen Matzka


Earth’s magnetic field is a dynamic, changing phenomenon. The geomagnetic field consists of contributions from several sources, of which the main field originating in Earth’s core makes up the bulk. On regional and local scales at Earth’s surface, the lithospheric field can make a substantial contribution to the overall field and therefore needs to be considered in field models. A locally derived regional core field model, named HMOREG, has been shown to give accurate predictions of the southern African region. In this study, a new regional field model called the South African Regional Core and Crust model (SARCC) is introduced. This is the first time that a local lithospheric model, estimated by employing the revised spherical cap harmonic analysis modelling method, has been combined with the core component of CHAOS-6, a global field model. It is compared here with the existing regional field model as well as with global core field models. The SARCC model shows small-scale variations that are not present in the other three models. Including a lithospheric magnetic field component likely contributed to the better performance of the SARCC model when compared to other global and local field models. The SARCC model showed a 33% reduction in error compared to surface observations obtained from field surveys and INTERMAGNET stations in the Y component, and HMOREG showed a 7% reduction in error compared to the global field models. The new model can easily be updated with global geomagnetic models that incorporate the most recent, state-of-the-art core and magnetospheric field models.


Earth’s magnetic field is an integral part of many current navigational methods in use. Updates of geomagnetic field models are required to ensure the accuracy of maps, navigation, and positioning information. The SARCC regional geomagnetic field model introduced here was compared with global geomagnetic field models, and the inclusion of a lithospheric magnetic field component likely contributed to the better performance of the SARCC model. This regional model of southern Africa could easily be updated on a regular basis, and used for high-resolution information on the Earth’s magnetic field for the wider scientific community.

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eISSN: 1996-7489
print ISSN: 0038-2353