- Song, Seok-Min
- Journal of astronomy and space sciences
- 39, n.4
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Because of the small number of spacecraft available in the Earth's magnetosphere at any given time, it is not possible to obtain direct measurements of the fundamental quantities, such as the magnetic field and plasma density, with a spatial coverage necessary for studying, global magnetospheric phenomena. In such cases, empirical as well as physics-based models are proven to be extremely valuable. This requires not only having high fidelity and high accuracy models, but also knowing the weakness and strength of such models. In this study, we assess the accuracy of the widely used Tsyganenko magnetic field models, T96, T01, and T04, by comparing the calculated magnetic field with the ones measured in-situ by the GOES satellites during geomagnetically disturbed times. We first set the baseline accuracy of the models from a data-model comparison during the intervals of geomagnetically quiet times. During quiet times, we find that all three models exhibit a systematic error of about 10% in the magnetic field magnitude, while the error in the field vector direction is on average less than 1%. We then assess the model accuracy by a data-model comparison during twelve geomagnetic storm events. We find that the errors in both the magnitude and the direction are well maintained at the quiet-time level throughout the storm phase, except during the main phase of the storms in which the largest error can reach 15% on average, and exceed well over 70% in the worst case. Interestingly, the largest error occurs not at the Dst minimum but 2-3 hours before the minimum. Finally, the T96 model has consistently underperformed compared to the other models, likely due to the lack of computation for the effects of ring current. However, the T96 and T01 models are accurate enough for most of the time except for highly disturbed periods.