Surveys in Geophysics

, Volume 13, Issue 1, pp 47–88 | Cite as

150 years of magnetic observatories: Recent researches on world data

  • D. R. Barraclough
  • T. D. G. Clark
  • S. W. H. Cowley
  • F. H. Hibberd
  • R. Hide
  • D. J. Kerridge
  • F. J. Lowes
  • S. R. C. Malin
  • T. Murphy
  • H. Rishbeth
  • S. K. Runcorn
  • H. C. Soffel
  • D. N. Stewart
  • W. F. Stuart
  • K. A. Whaler
  • D. E. Winch


A joint Discussion Meeting of the Royal Astronomical Society and the Royal Irish Academy, held on January 11th, 1991, commemorated the establishment of some early magnetic observatories, discussed recent research using global geomagnetic data and described the present status of magnetic observatories in the United Kingdom. The observatory and instruments at the Dublin magnetic observatory; the origins of the Greenwich magnetic observatory, and why it eventually had to be resited; and the history of the Munich magnetic observatory formed the historical part of the proceedings. Current research topics discussed were the geomagnetic secular variation and deep Earth structure and dynamics; fluid flow patterns near the top of the core; the origin of the annual variation of the geomagnetic field; results of an analysis of monthly means from some British observatories; a new theory of the geomagnetic daily variation; and the interactions between ionospheric science and geomagnetism. The present-day observatory scene was described in terms of the information that can be derived from the almost 40 year series of data from Hartland magnetic observatory; of the methods used to process data from the three UK magnetic observatories, which nowadays are operated automatically and remotely; and (a look into the future) of a new project, INTERMAGNET, which aims to make available, in near real time, data from the world-wide network of magnetic observatories.


Fluid Flow Daily Variation Secular Variation Monthly Means Earth Structure 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Acheson, D. J. and Hide, R.: 1973, ‘Hydromagnetics of Rotating Fluids’,Rep. Progress Phys. 36, 159–221.Google Scholar
  2. Anon: 1923, ‘The Greenwich Magnetic Observatory. Proposed Removal to Holmbury Hill’,Nature 112, 345–346.Google Scholar
  3. Backus, G. E.: 1968, ‘Kinematics of Geomagnetic Secular Variation in a Perfectly Conducting Core’,Phil. Trans. R. Soc., London A263, 239–266.Google Scholar
  4. Backus, G. E. and Gilbert, J. F.: 1968, ‘The Resolving Power of Gross Earth Data’,Geophys. J. R. Astr. Soc. 16, 169–205.Google Scholar
  5. Banks, R. J.: 1969, ‘Geomagnetic Variations and the Conductivity of the Upper Mantle’,Geophys. J. R. Astr. Soc. 17, 457–487.Google Scholar
  6. Barraclough, D. R. 1985, ‘Halley's Atlantic Magnetic Surveys’ in Schröder, W. (ed.),Historical Events and People in Geosciences, European University Studies, Series 29:Interdepartmental Congress Reports,2, 163–183, Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang.Google Scholar
  7. Barraclough, D. R.: 1987, ‘International Geomagnetic Reference Field: the Fourth Generation’,Phys. Earth Planet. Inter. 48, 279–292.Google Scholar
  8. Bauer, L. A.: 1902, ‘Notice of Magnetic Disturbance During Eruption of Mont Pelée, Martinique’,Terr. Magn. Atmos. Electr. 7, 57–58.Google Scholar
  9. Beblo, M.: 1990, ‘A Digital Magnetometer System Using Conventional Variometers and Opto-Electronic Converters’,Phys. Earth Planet. Inter. 59, 82–89.Google Scholar
  10. Beblo, M. and Soffel, H. (Eds.): 1991, ‘150 Years Geomagnetic Observatories München-Maisach-Fürstenfeldbruck’,Münchner Geophys. Mitteilungen, Münchner Univers. Schriften, ISSN 0931-2145, 5.Google Scholar
  11. Benton, E. R.: 1981, ‘Inviscid, Frozen-Flux Velocity Components at the Top of Earth's Core from Magnetic Observations at Earth's Surface: Part I. A New Methodology’,Geophys. Astrophys. Fluid Dynamics 18, 157–184.Google Scholar
  12. Benton, E. R. and Whaler, K. A.: 1983, ‘Rapid Diffusion of the Poloidal Geomagnetic Field through the Weakly Conducting Mantle: a Perturbation Solution’,Geophys. J. R. Astr. Soc. 75, 77–100.Google Scholar
  13. Bloxham, J. and Gubbins, D.: 1985, ‘The Secular Variation of the Earth's Magnetic Field’,Nature 317 777–781.Google Scholar
  14. Bloxham, J. and Gubbins, D.: 1986, ‘Geomagnetic Field Analysis IV —Testing the Frozen-Flux Hypothesis’,Geophys. J. R. Astr. Soc. 84, 139–152.Google Scholar
  15. Booker, J. R.: 1969, ‘Geomagnetic Data and Core Motions’,Proc. R. Soc., London A309, 27–40.Google Scholar
  16. Cain, J. C., Hendricks, S. J., Langel, R. A., and Hudson, W. V. 1967, ‘A Proposed Model for the International Geomagnetic Reference Field—1965’,J. Geomagn. Geoelectr. 19, 335–355.Google Scholar
  17. Courtillot, V. and Le Mouël, J. L.: 1976, ‘On the Long Period Variations of the Earth's Magnetic Field from 2 Months to 20 Years’,J. Geophys. Res. 81, 2941–2950.Google Scholar
  18. Currie, R. G.: 1966, ‘The Geomagnetic Spectrum—40 Days to 5.5 Years’,J. Geophys. Res. 71, 4579–4598.Google Scholar
  19. Gire, C. and Le Mouël, J. L.: 1990, ‘Tangentially Geostrophic Flow at the Core-Mantle Boundary Compatible with the Observed Geomagnetic Secular Variation: the Large Scale Component of the Flow’,Phys. Earth Planet. Interiors 59, 259–287.Google Scholar
  20. Gire, C., Le Mouël, J. L. and Madden, T.: 1986, ‘Motions at the Core Surface Derived from SV Data’,Geophys. J. R. Astr. Soc. 84, 1–29.Google Scholar
  21. Griffin, R. F., Andrews, P. J., Pooley, G. G., and Smith, R. C.: 1980, ‘In Celebration of Volume 100’,Observatory 100, 125–131.Google Scholar
  22. Gubbins, D., Thomson, C. J., and Whaler, K. A.: 1982, ‘Stable Regions in the Earth's Liquid Core’,Geophys. J. R. Astr. Soc. 68, 241–251.Google Scholar
  23. Hide, R.: 1966, ‘Free Hydromagnetic Oscillations of the Earth's Core and the Theory of the Geomagnetic Secular Variation,’Phil. Trans. R. Soc., London A259, 615–650.Google Scholar
  24. Hide, R.: 1978, ‘How to Locate the Electrically Conducting Fluid Core of a Planet from External Magnetic Observations’,Nature 271, 640–641.Google Scholar
  25. Hide, R.: 1989, ‘Fluctuations in the Earth's Rotation and the Topography of the Core-Mantle Interface’,Phil. Trans. R. Soc., London A328, 351–363.Google Scholar
  26. Hide, R.: 1990, ‘Angular Momentum Transfer at the Core-Mantle Interface,’Surveys in Geophysics 11, 340–343.Google Scholar
  27. Hide, R. and Malin, S. R. C.: 1981, ‘On the Determination of the Size of the Earth's Core from Observations of the Geomagnetic Secular Variation’,Proc. R. Soc., London A374, 15–33.Google Scholar
  28. Hide, R. and Roberts, P. H.: 1979, ‘How Strong is the Magnetic Field in the Earth's Liquid Core?’,Phys. Earth Planet. Interiors 20, 124–126.Google Scholar
  29. Hide, R. and Stewartson, K.: 1972, ‘Hydromagnetic Oscillations of the Earth's Core’,Rev. Geophys. Space Phys. 10, 579–598.Google Scholar
  30. Jackson, A. A.: 1978,London's Local Railways, Newton Abbot: David and Charles, p. 253.Google Scholar
  31. Jones, T. B. and Spracklen, C. T.: 1974, ‘Ionospheric Effects of the Flixborough Explosion’,Nature 250, 719–720.Google Scholar
  32. Kaiser, T. R.: 1962, ‘The First Suggestion of an Ionosphere’,J. Atmos. Terr. Phys. 24, 865.Google Scholar
  33. Kerridge, D. J. and Harris, T. J.: 1988, ‘GIFS: the Geomagnetism Information and Forecast Service’,Brit. Geol. Surv. Tech. Rept. WM/88/16.Google Scholar
  34. Lloyd, H.: 1842,Account of the Magnetical Observatory of Dublin, and of the Instruments and Methods of Observation Employed There, 54 pp. Dublin: University Press.Google Scholar
  35. McConnell, A.: 1986,Geophysics and Geomagnetism, Catalogue of the Science Museum Collection, 45 pp., London: Her Majesty's Stationery Office.Google Scholar
  36. Malin, S. R. C. and Barraclough, D. R.: 1991, ‘Humboldt and the Earth's Magnetic Field’,Quart. J. R. Astr. Soc. 32, 279–293.Google Scholar
  37. Malin, S. R. C. and Işikara, A. M.: 1976, ‘Annual Variation of the Geomagnetic Field’,Geophys. J. R. Astr. Soc. 47, 445–457.Google Scholar
  38. Malin, S. R. C., Hodder, B. M., and Barraclough, D. R.: 1983, ‘Geomagnetic Secular Variation: a Jerk in 1970’, in Cardús, J. O. (ed.),Contribuciones Científicas para Conmemorar et 75 Aniversario del Observatorio del Ebro, Publ. Obs. Ebro, Memoria, No. 14, 239–245.Google Scholar
  39. Matsushita, S. and Campbell, W. H. (eds): 1967,Physics of Geomagnetic Phenomena, Academic Press, New York, 1398 pp. (2 vols.).Google Scholar
  40. Mayaud, P. N.: 1973, ‘A Hundred Year Series of Geomagnetic Data 1868–1967, Indicesaa, Storm Sudden Commencements’,Bull. Int. Assoc. Geomagn. Aeron., No. 33, Paris: IUGG Publications Office 252 pp.Google Scholar
  41. Mayaud, P. N.: 1980,Derivation, Meaning and Use of Geomagnetic Indices, Amer. Geophys. Un., Geophys. Monograph No. 22, American Geophysical Union, Washington D.C., 154 pp.Google Scholar
  42. Mountaine, W. and Dodson, J.: 1758,An Account of the Methods Used to Describe Lines on Dr. Halley's Chart of the Terraqueous Globe Showing the Variation of the Magnetic Needle about the Year 1756, in all the Known Seas; Their Application and use in Correcting the Longitude at Sea; with Some Occasional Observations Relating Thereto, London: T. Page and Son for W. and J. Mount.Google Scholar
  43. Nowozynsky, K., Ernst, T., and Jankowski, J.: 1991, ‘Adaptive Smoothing Method for Computer Derivation of K Indices’,Geophys. J. Int. 104, 85–93.Google Scholar
  44. Parkinson, W. D. and Hutton, V. R. S.: 1989, ‘The Electrical Conductivity of the Earth’, in Jacobs, J. A. (ed.),Geomagnetism, Vol. 3, Academic Press, New York.Google Scholar
  45. Pond, J.: 1820,Astronomical Observations Made at the Royal Observatory at Greenwich,3, (last few pages).Google Scholar
  46. Pond, J.: 1824,Astronomical Observations Made at the Royal Observatory at Greenwich,4, 124.Google Scholar
  47. Riddick, J. C., Greenwood, A. C., and Stuart, W. F.: 1990, ‘The Automatic Remote Geomagnetic Observatory System (ARGOS) Operated in the UK by the British Geological Survey’,Phys. Earth. Planet. Interiors 59, 29–44.Google Scholar
  48. Rishbeth, H.: 1985, ‘The Quadrupole Ionosphere’,Ann. Geophys. 3, 293–298.Google Scholar
  49. Rishbeth, H., Jones, T. B., and Cowley, S. W. H.: 1989, ‘Future of Solar-Terrestrial Monitoring’,EOS Trans. Amer. Geophys. Union 70, 611–612.Google Scholar
  50. Roberts, P. H. and Scott, S.: 1965, ‘On the Analysis of the Secular Variation, 1. A Hydromagnetic Constraint: Theory’,J. Geomagn. Geoelectr. 17, 137–151.Google Scholar
  51. Robinson, P. R.: 1982, ‘Geomagnetic Observatories in the British Isles’,Vistas in Astronomy 26, 347–367.Google Scholar
  52. Shure, L., Whaler, K. A., Gubbins, D. and Hobbs, B. A.: 1983, ‘Physical Constraints for the Analysis of the Geomagnetic Secular Variation’,Phys. Earth Planet. Interiors 32, 114–131.Google Scholar
  53. Stacey, F. D.: 1977,Physics of the Earth, John Wiley and Sons, New York, 413 pp.Google Scholar
  54. Stewart, B.: 1882, Article ‘Terrestrial magnetism’, inEncyclopaedia Britannica, 9th Edition, 36 pp.Google Scholar
  55. Stuart, W. F.: 1984, ‘Introduction to Geomagnetic Observatory and Survey Practice’,Geophys. Surveys 6, 217–221.Google Scholar
  56. Stuart, W. F.: 1990, ‘Magnetic Observatories at the Turn of the Century: a Forward Look’,Phys. Earth Planet. Inferiors 59, 3–12.Google Scholar
  57. Thrower, N. J. W.: 1981,The Three Voyages of Edmond Halley in the “Paramore” 1698–1701, Hakluyt Society (Second Series, Vols. 156, 157), London.Google Scholar
  58. Voorhies, C. V. and Backus, G. E.: 1985, ‘Steady Flows at the Top of the Core from Geomagnetic Field Models: the Steady Motions Theorem’,Geophys Astrophys. Fluid Dynamics 32, 163–173.Google Scholar
  59. Voorhies, C. V. and Benton, E. R.: 1982, ‘Pole Strength of the Earth from MAGSAT and Magnetic Determination of the Core Radius’,Geophys. Res. Lett. 9, 258–261.Google Scholar
  60. Wienert, K.: 1966, ‘125 Jahre erdmagnetische Beobachtungen in München, Maisach und Fürstenfeldbruck’, inZum 125-jährigen Bestehen der Observatorien München-Maisach-Fürstenfeldbruck, München.Google Scholar
  61. Whaler, K. A.: 1980, ‘Does the Whole of the Earth's Core Convect?’,Nature 287, 528–530.Google Scholar
  62. Whaler, K. A.: 1982, ‘Geomagnetic Secular Variation and Fluid Motions at the Core Surface’,Phil. Trans. R. Soc. London A306, 235–246.Google Scholar
  63. Whaler, K. A.: 1984, ‘Fluid Upwelling at the Core-Mantle Boundary—Resolvability from Surface Geomagnetic Data’,Geophys. J. R. Astr. Soc. 78, 453–473.Google Scholar
  64. Whaler, K. A.: 1986, ‘Geomagnetic Evidence for Fluid Upwelling at the Core-Mantle Boundary’,Geophys. J. R. Astr. Soc. 86, 563–588.Google Scholar
  65. Whaler, K. A.: 1990, ‘A Steady Velocity Field at the Top of the Earth's Core in the Frozen-Flux Approximation—Errata and Further Comments’,Geophys. J. Int. 102, 507–509.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. R. Barraclough
    • 1
  • T. D. G. Clark
    • 1
  • S. W. H. Cowley
    • 2
  • F. H. Hibberd
    • 4
  • R. Hide
    • 5
  • D. J. Kerridge
    • 1
  • F. J. Lowes
    • 6
  • S. R. C. Malin
    • 7
  • T. Murphy
    • 8
  • H. Rishbeth
    • 9
  • S. K. Runcorn
    • 2
  • H. C. Soffel
    • 10
  • D. N. Stewart
    • 3
  • W. F. Stuart
    • 1
  • K. A. Whaler
    • 3
  • D. E. Winch
    • 11
  1. 1.Geomagnetism GroupBritish Geological SurveyEdinburgh
  2. 2.Blackett LaboratoryImperial CollegeLondon
  3. 3.Department of Earth SciencesUniversity of LeedsLeeds
  4. 4.Department of PhysicsUniversity of New EnglandArmidaleAustralia
  5. 5.The Robert Hooke Institute, The ObservatoryClarendon LaboratoryOxford
  6. 6.Department of Physics, The UniversityNewcastle upon Tyne
  7. 7.Dulwich CollegeLondon
  8. 8.School of Cosmic PhysicsDublin Institute for Advanced StudiesDublin 2
  9. 9.Department of Physics, The UniversitySouthampton
  10. 10.Geophysikalisches ObservatoriumUniversität MünchenFürstenfeldbruckGermany
  11. 11.Department of Applied MathematicsUniversity of SydneySydneyAustralia

Personalised recommendations