About SuperMAG

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What is SuperMAG?

SuperMAG is a worldwide collaboration of organizations and national agencies that currently operate more than 300 ground based magnetometers. SuperMAG provides easy access to validated ground magnetic field perturbations in the same coordinate system, identical time resolution and with a common baseline removal approach.

SuperMAG utilizes 3D vector measurements of the magnetic field obtained from ground bases magnetometers. Stations providing absolute measurements (e.g. Intermagnet Observatories) as well as stations providing relative measurements are included. SuperMAG is focused on the variations caused by electric currents flowing in the ionosphere and magnetosphere and hence subtracts the dominant and slowly varying Earth main field.

SuperMAG service includes data with two different temporal resolution, 1-min and 1-sec. The latter is a subset of the former as not all stations provide 1-sec data. The 1-min data and all derived products can be accessed by selecting the 'Low Fidelity' option under Indices, Data, Polar Plots, Movies and Products. The 1-sec data and all derived products can be accessed by selecting the 'High Fidelity' option under Data and Polar Plots.

More information and details are available in Gjerloev [2009] and Gjerloev [2012].

Purpose

The purpose of SuperMAG it to help scientists, teachers, students and the general public have easy access to measurements of the Earth's magnetic field.

Motivation

For decades ground based magnetometers have proven to be the workhorse of magnetosphere-ionosphere physics and their importance is indisputable.

SuperMAG is the next logical step for the ground magnetometer community to take in the development of a user friendly data service enabling an understanding as well as monitoring of the global electric current system. The data set provided by the ground magnetometer community is truly unique since it provides a nearly global and continuous measurement of a fundamental parameter - the ground level magnetic field perturbations.

Global studies utilizing observations from all available observatories are inhibited or even prevented by several challenges:

  1. Obtaining data
  2. Understanding data format, flags, units, et cetera
  3. Correcting artifacts and errors in data
  4. Identifying which coordinate system is used and rotating to a known coordinate system
  5. Removing of the main field (baseline determination)

SuperMag is developed to remove these obstacles for the user. This allows the derivation of a long list of data products, plots and parameters.

Data Holdings

The SuperMAG family consists of a long list of collaborators who generously have agreed to participate in the initiative. Data are provided in a variety of file formats, temporal resolutions, units, coordinate systems and are provided with or without baseline subtracted. The original data can be obtained from the websites listed on the SuperMAG home page.

After the above mentioned processing steps (1-4) the data are no longer identical to the data provided by the collaborator and to ensure the user is aware of this difference the data released by SuperMAG are referred to as "SuperMAG data". Two datasets are released through SuperMAG - 1-min resolution and 1-sec resolution. The number of stations and the years covered are different for these datasets.

SuperMAG Data Handling

SuperMAG is managing a staggering >10 million files (magnetometer data, solar wind data and auroral images). The vast amount of data required SuperMAG to develop a simple and robust data flow, which could accommodate the various types of data as well as their inherent complications. Housekeeping plots are produced at each step and a number of validation routines check the quality of the data after each step. For a thorough description of the data flow see Gjerloev, JGR, 2012.

Why is it called 'SuperMAG Data' and not a 'SuperMAG Station'?

Collaborators around the world generously provide measurements to the SuperMAG collaboration. Their measurements are then processed by the SuperMAG team in a list of non-trivial steps (see list of challenges above and Gjerloev, 2012). This means the data provided through SuperMAG is no longer equivalent to the original measurements and thus is referred to as 'SuperMAG data'.

SuperMAG does not currently operate any ground based stations and therefore there are no 'SuperMAG station'.

References

Gjerloev, J. W. (2009), A Global Ground-Based Magnetometer Initiative, EOS, 90, 230-231, doi:10.1029/2009EO270002.

Gjerloev, J. W. (2012), The SuperMAG data processing technique, J. Geophys. Res., 117, A09213, doi:10.1029/2012JA017683.