A python interface for global geomagnetic field models

pymagglobal serves the purpose of replacing some Fortran scripts, which are used in the geomagnetism community to evaluate global field models. It can be applied to all cubic-spline based geomagnetic field models stored in the same file format as gufm1 or the CALSxk model series.



pymagglobal depends on cartopy. You have to install it, before running the install command. This should also help if you receive ImportError: NumPy 1.10+ is required to install cartopy.

pymagglobal is distributed via the PyPI registry of the corresponding repository. It can be installed using

$ pip install pymagglobal --extra-index-url https://public:5mz_iyigu-WE3HySBH1J@git.gfz-potsdam.de/api/v4/projects/1055/packages/pypi/simple

See also here and here.

File format description

The format that is used by pymagglobal is the same as the gufm1 model and the CALSxk models. Care has to be taken that two header lines of the model files are formatted correctly and the list of spline knot point epochs starts only in line 3. The model files are structured as follows:

  • The first line has to provide two numeric values: Start and end of the epoch for which the model is valid. Any trailing text is ignored.

  • The second line contains three integers: The maximal spherical harmonic degree, an unused number and the number of splines.

  • Then follows a block of years, specifying the knots for the cubic B-splines and a block of coefficients, containing first all coefficients for the first knot, then all for the second etc.

1590 1990 Trailing text is ignored
14  0  163
  1582.5000000000    1585.0000000000    1587.5000000000 ...

The code is somewhat flexible with line breaks. Only the line break after the first line is really necessary. If you have trouble parsing your own files, feel free to contact one of the authors.

Included models

pymagglobal comes with several models pre-included. You can download additional models here. Below is a description of the included models.




Short description


1590 – 1990 AD


Based on historical and modern data


1000 – 2000 AD


Combining archeomagnetic, volcanic and historical data


7000 BC – 1900 AD


Based on archeomagnetic, volcanic and sediment data; Sediment timescales adjusted to best fit


8000 BC – 1990 AD


Based on archeomagnetic, volcanic and sediment data; Data outlier treatment and strength of temporal and spatial regularization somewhat different from the CALSxk models


8000 BC – 1990 AD


Based on archeomagnetic, volcanic and sediment data; Recent centuries constrained to agree in general with gufm1


8000 BC – 1990 AD


Based only on archeomagnetic and volcanic data; Sparse data coverage for early millennia; Recent centuries constrained to agree in general with gufm1


49.5 – 29.5 ka


Based on sediment and volcanic data; Closely adjacent sediment records stacked for regional consistency; Small correction to a sediment record location compared to LSMOD.1; use the --longterm flag, to pass dates as ka


100 – 0 ka


Based on sediment, volcanic and archeomagnetic data; Temporally stronger smoothed (by temporal regularization) compared to the dedicated Laschamp excursion models; use the --longterm flag, to pass dates as ka



Jackson, A., A. R. T. Jonkers and M. R. Walker (2000): Four centuries of geomagnetic secular variation from historical records. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. Lond. A 358, 957–990


Senftleben, R. (2020): Earth’s magnetic field over the last 1000 years. PhD thesis, University of Potsdam


Nilsson, A., R. Holme, M. Korte, N. Suttie and M. Hill (2014): Reconstructing Holocene geomagnetic field variation: new methods, models and implications. Geophys. J. Int., 198, 229-248


Panovska, S., M. Korte, C. Finlay and C. Constable (2015): Limitations in paleomagnetic data and modelling techniques and their impact on Holocene geomagnetic field models. Geophys. J. Int., 202, 402-418.


Constable, C., M. Korte and S. Panovska (2016): Persistent high paleosecular variation activity in Southern hemisphere for at least 10 000 years. Earth Planet. Sci. Lett.,453,78-86.


Korte, M., M. C. Brown, S. Panovska and I. Wardinski (2019): Robust characteristics of the Laschamp and Mono Lake geomagnetic excursions: results from global field models. Frontiers in Earth Sciences, 7:86, doi:10.3389/feart.2019.00086


Panovska, S., C. G. Constable and M. Korte (2018): Extending global continuous geomagnetic field reconstructions on timescales beyond human civilization. Geochem. Geophys. Geosys., 19, 4757-4772. doi:10.1029/2018GC007966


GNU General Public License, Version 3, 29 June 2007

Copyright (C) 2020 Helmholtz Centre Potsdam GFZ, German Research Centre for Geosciences, Potsdam, Germany

pymagglobal is free software: you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation, either version 3 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.

pymagglobal is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public License for more details.

You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License along with this program. If not, see <https://www.gnu.org/licenses/>.