The technique to remotely sense the plasma mass density in magnetosphere using field line resonance (FLR) frequencies detected by ground-based magnetometers has become more and more popular in the last few years. In this paper we examine the error that would be committed at low and middle latitudes (L < 4) in estimating the equatorial plasma mass density if dipole field lines are assumed instead of the more realistic representation given by IGRF field lines. It is found that the use of the centered dipole model may result in an error in the inferred density appreciably larger than what is usually assumed. In particular it has a significant longitudinal dependence being, for example, greater than +30% in the atlantic sector and about -30% at the opposite longitude sector for field lines extending to a geocentric distance of 2 Earth radii. This may result in an erroneous interpretation of the longitudinal variation in plasmaspheric density when comparing results from ground-based arrays located at different longitudes. We also propose simple modifications of the standard technique, such as the use of an effective dipole moment or the eccentric dipole model, which allow to keep using the dipole field geometry but with a significant error reduction.
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