Christopher C. Finlay

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Earth's magnetic field has decayed by about 5% per century since measurements began in 1840. Directional measurements predate those of intensity by more than 250 years, and we combined the global model of directions with paleomagnetic intensity measurements to estimate the fall in strength for this earlier period (1590 to 1840 A.D.). We found that magnetic(More)
Direct observations indicate that the magnitude of the Earth's magnetic axial dipole has decreased over the past 175 years; it is now 9% weaker than it was in 1840. Here we show how the rate of dipole decay may be controlled by a planetary-scale gyre in the liquid metal outer core. The gyre's meridional limbs on average transport normal polarity magnetic(More)
Slow temporal variations in Earth's magnetic field originate in the liquid outer core. We analyzed the evolution of nonaxisymmetric magnetic flux at the core surface over the past 400 years. We found that the most robust feature is westward motion at 17 kilometers per year, in a belt concentrated around the equator beneath the Atlantic hemisphere.(More)
We report a calculation of time-dependent quasi-geostrophic core flows for 1940-2010. Inverting recursively for an ensemble of solutions, we evaluate the main source of uncertainties, namely the model errors arising from interactions between unresolved core surface motions and magnetic fields. Temporal correlations of these uncertainties are accounted for.(More)
Temporal changes in the Earth's magnetic field, known as geomagnetic secular variation, occur most prominently at low latitudes in the Atlantic hemisphere (that is, from -90 degrees east to 90 degrees east), whereas in the Pacific hemisphere there is comparatively little activity. This is a consequence of the geographical localization of intense, westward(More)
1 Earth and Planetary Magnetism Group, Institut für Geophysik, Sonneggstrasse 5, ETH Zürich, CH-8092, Switzerland. 2NOAA/NGDC and CIRES, University of Colorado, U.S.A. 3British Geological Survey, Murchison House, West Mains Road, Edinburgh, EH9 3LA, U.K. 4Helmholtz Centre Potsdam, GFZ German Research centre for Geosciences, Telegrafenberg, 14473, Germany.(More)
A striking feature of many natural dynamos is their ability to undergo polarity reversals. The best documented example is Earth's magnetic field, which has reversed hundreds of times during its history. The origin of geomagnetic polarity reversals lies in a magnetohydrodynamic process that takes place in Earth's core, but the precise mechanism is debated.(More)
How fluctuations can be eliminated or attenuated is a matter of general interest in the study of steadily-forced dissipative nonlinear dynamical systems. Here, we extend previous work on “nonlinear quenching” [Hide, 1997] by investigating the phenomenon in systems governed by the novel autonomous set of nonlinear ordinary differential equations (ODE’s) ẋ =(More)
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