Journal Highlights

Comparing and optimizing the accuracy of empirical magnetic field models

Editor’s Highlight—


Improving models of the geomagnetic field is relevant to calculation of the adiabatic invariants for radiation belt studies, calculation of conjunction between satellites, calculation of mapping from the ionosphere to the magnetotail or vice versa, to name just a few applications. This paper presents a method for comparing the accuracy of several versions of the Tsyganenko empirical magnetic field models and for optimizing the empirical magnetic field model using in situ magnetic field measurements. The study was carried out for several intervals of highly varied geomagnetic activity selected by the Geospace Environment Modeling Challenge for the Quantitative Assessment of Radiation Belt Modeling Focus Group. The authors describe a method for improving the results of various Tsyganenko magnetic field models, especially with respect to outliers, using a new cost function, various metrics and Nelder-Mead optimization. Importantly this model evaluation was based on points in the magnetosphere that were not used for fitting. Thus, the results provide an independent validation of the method. The model, known as TS04, produced the best results after optimization, generating a smaller error in 57.3% of the points in the tested data set when compared to the standard (unoptimized) inputs. The results of this study include a set of optimized parameters that can be used to evaluate the models studied in this paper. These optimized parameters are included as supplementary material so that the broader scientific community can use the optimized magnetic field models immediately, and without any additional code development, using any standard implementation of the magnetic field models tested in the study.