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International Geomagnetic Reference Field Model

CCMC Services available for IGRF
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Download Source Code

Model Developer(s)
Susan Macmillan, Stefan Maus
IAGA Working Group on IGRF

Model Description
The International Geomagnetic Reference Field (IGRF) model is the empirical representation of the Earth's magnetic field recommended for scientific use by a special Working Group of the International Association of Geomagnetism and Aeronomy (IAGA). The IGRF model represents the main (core) field without external sources. The model employs the usual spherical harmonics expansion of the scalar potential in geocentric coordinates. The IGRF model coefficients are based on all available data sources including geomagnetic measurements from observatories, ships, aircrafts and satellites.

The IGRF model consists of sets of coefficients for a global representation of the Earth magnetic field for the years 1945, 1950, 1955, etc. There are definitive coefficient sets (DGRF##.DAT) for which no further revisions are anticipated and IGRF##.DAT and IGRF##S.DAT for which future updates are expected. IGRF##S.DAT provides the first time derivatives of the coefficients for extrapolation into the future. The 10th generation of the IGRF model (IGRF10) consists of definitive coefficients sets for 1945 thru 2000 and prelimenary sets for 2005 and for extrapolating from 2005 to 2010.

In combination with the IGRF coefficient sets different subroutines have been used to determine the components of the magnetic field vector and the L-value at a given location. The CCMC version uses the subroutines FELDG (magnetic field vector) and SHELLG (L shell) developed by G. Kluge at the European Space Operations Center (ESOC). His use of inverse cartesian co- ordinates simplifies the computation. The IGRF subroutines were developed by A. Zunde of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). The program BILCAL produces tables of the geomagnetic field strength, vector components (B-abs., B-north, B-east, B-down, declination, inclination), equatorial/minimum field strength (B0), dipole moment, and L-value in latitude, longitude (geodetic), altitude, or year (decimal).

References and relevant publications
N. W. Peddie, International Geomagnetic Reference Field: The Third Generation, J. Geomagn. Geoelectr. 34, 309, 1982.
D. R. Barraclough, International Geomagnetic Reference Field: The Fourth Generation, Phys. Earth Planet. Inter. 48, 279, 1987.
R. A. Langel, D. R. Barraclough, D. J. Kerridge, V. P. Golovkov, T. J. Sabaka, and R. H. Estes, Definitive IGRF Models for 1945, 1950, 1955, and 1960, J. Geomagn. Geoelectr. 40, 645, 1988. International Geomagnetic Reference Field, Revision 1987, J. Geomag. Geoelectr., 39, 773-779, 1987, and EOS, AGU Transactions, 69, 559, 1988.
R.A. Langel, International Geomagnetic Reference Field, 1991 Revision, J. Geomag. Geoelectr. 43, 1007-1012, 1991.
C.E. Barton, Revision of International Geomagnetic Reference Field Released, EOS Transactions 77, #16, April 16, 1996.
C.E. Barton, International Geomagnetic Reference Field: The Seventh Generation, J. Geomag. Geoelectr. 49, 123-148, 1997.
M. Mandea et al., International Geomagnetic Reference Field - Epoch 2000 Revision Of The IGRF for 2000 - 2005,, 26 May 2000.
International Geomagentic Reference Field - 2000, AGU EOS Transactions, pp. 347, Aug 3, 2001
Macmillan, S., Maus, S., Bondar, T., Chambodut, A., Golovkov, V., Holme, R., Langlais, B., Lesur, V., Lowes, F., L?hr, H., Mai, W., Mandea, M., Olsen, N., Rother, M., Sabaka, T., Thomson, A., Wardinski, I.,Ninth Generation International Geomagnetic Reference Field Released,EOS Transactions, AGU, Volume 84, Issue 46,503-503, 2003 and Geophys. J. Int., 155, 1051-1056, 2003.
International Association of Geomagnetism and Aeronomy (IAGA), Division V, Working Group 8, The 9th Generation International Geomagnetic Reference Field, Phys. Earth Planet Int., 140, 253-254, 2003 and Earth Planets and Space, 55, i-ii, 2003.

Relevant links
IAGA IGRF homepage
British Geological Survey page

Source Code Available for download:

CCMC Contact(s)


Developer Contact(s)


National Aeronautics and Space Administration Air Force Materiel Command Air Force Office of Scientific Research Air Force Research Laboratory Air Force Weather Agency NOAA Space Environment Center National Science Foundation Office of Naval Research

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