Dr William James Brown

Dr William James Brown

Global Geomagnetic Field Modeller

Location: BGS Edinburgh

Tel: 0131 6500 372

E-mail Dr William James Brown

ORCID: 0000000190459787


I am a geophysicist working in the Geomagnetism Team at BGS. My research focusses on the Earth's magnetic field and its time changes - known as secular variation. I help produce our field models, such as the BGS Global Geomagnetic Model (BGGM) and World Magnetic Model (WMM). I am also involved in organising and delivering science outreach, to introduce our science to schools and public events. I have presented at events such as Astronomy on Tap and Pint of Science.


  • 2015 – ongoing : Global Geomagnetic Field Modeller
  • 2011 –2015 : PhD; University of Leeds; Geomagnetism
  • 2009 –2010 : Exchange student; Colorado School of Mines; Geophysics
  • 2007 –2011 : MGeophys, BSc; University of Leeds; Geophysics


  • I was involved in the 2018 update to the World Magnetic Model, which garnered considerable media attention. You can read about this event in my blog post.

Current projects and collaboration

  • 2015 – ongoing : Development and production of BGS Global Geomagnetic Model (BGGM)
  • 2015 – ongoing : Scientist-in-loop for ESA Swarm Level 2 magnetic products validation.
  • 2017 : Organised "Auroras and Earthquakes" open days to celebrate 95th anniversary of the geomagnetic observatory at Lerwick, Shetland.
  • 2018 – ongoing : Lecturer for "Geomagnetism" honours course at University of Edinburgh.
  • 2018 – ongoing : Production of World Magnetic Model (WMM) in collaboration with NOAA, USA.

Key papers

  • Chulliat, A, Brown, W, Alken, P, Macmillan, S, Nair, M, Beggan, C, Woods, A, Hamilton, B, Meyer, B, and Redmon, R. 2019. Out-of-Cycle Update of the US/UK World Magnetic Model for 2015-2020. Technical Note. National Centers for Environmental Information, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, USA.
  • Cox, GA, Brown, W J, Billingham, L and Holme, R. 2018. MagPySV: a Python package for processing and denoising geomagnetic observatory data. Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems.
  • Brown, W, Beggan, C and Macmillan, S. 2016. Geomagnetic jerks in the Swarm Era. In: ESA Living Planet Symposium, Prague, Czech Republic, 9-13 May 2016. Spacebooks Online.
  • Brown, W J, Mound, J E, and Livermore, P W. 2013. Jerks abound: An analysis of geomagnetic observatory data from 1957 to 2008 Physics of the Earth and Planetary Interiors, (233)62-76.
  • Cox, G A, and Brown, W J. 2013. Rapid dynamics of the Earth's core Astronomy and Geophysics, 54(5)5.32-5.37

Professional association

  • Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society
  • Member of the American Geophysical Union
  • Member of the European Geosciences Union

Published outputs

Research interests

  • Geomagnetic field modelling
  • Geomagnetic jerks and rapid secular variation