The geomagnetic field is a fundamental property of our planet – it protects us from the solar wind, helps us navigate, and observations of local and global geomagnetic field variation on timescales from hours to years reveals information on a multitude of Earth and near-Earth phenomena such as ocean circulation pattern, tides, plasma bubbles in the Earth ionosphere and jet-streams in the core of our planet. Magnetic field fluctuations associated with natural phenomena such as earthquakes and hurricanes can also be observed, and close monitoring of the geomagnetic field variations by satellite systems will further enhance our knowledge and understanding of the coupling of our complex Earth and near-Earth system.
There's a jet stream in our core
19 December 2016
We would normally associate jet streams with the weather but, thanks to ESA's magnetic field mission, scientists have discovered a jet stream deep below Earth's surface - and it's speeding up.
Launched in 2013, the trio of Swarm satellites are measuring and untangling the different magnetic fields that stem from Earth's core, mantle, crust, oceans, ionosphere and magnetosphere.
Together, these signals form the magnetic field that protects us from cosmic radiation and charged particles that stream towards Earth in solar winds.
Measuring the magnetic field is one of the few ways we can look deep inside our planet. As Chris Finlay from the Technical University of Denmark noted, "We know more about the Sun than Earth's core because the Sun is not hidden from us by 3000 km of rock."
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