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International Conference on Complex Systems (ICCS2006)

Understanding Dynamical Complexity in the Near-Earth Environment and Solar Corona

Vadim Uritsky
Complexity Science Group, Department of Physics and Astronom

     Full text: Not available
     Last modified: April 27, 2006

Earth’s magnetosphere and solar corona are excellent examples of driven
nonlinear dynamical systems with spatially extended degrees of freedom.
Such systems are known to exhibit a large variety of dynamical regimes
depending on the control parameters of the global nonequilibrium state. In
many cases, they tend to produce complex multiscale patterns of activity
which can be interpreted based on the frameworks of fluid turbulence or
self-organized criticality (SOC).
I discuss results of an extensive statistical analysis of high-resolution
satellite snapshots of activity patterns in the night-time auroral region
(POLAR UVI images) and in the solar corona (SOHO EIT images). According to
the performed analysis, both systems have distinctive features of
scale-free avalanche-like behavior predicted by the SOC theory. They also
exhibit signatures of the intermittent turbulence such as a non-Kolmogorov
scaling of the high-order structure function as well as its extended
The reported statistics indicate a central role of cross-scale coupling
effects in the development of spatiotemporal disturbances in quite
different plasma-physical systems. They also suggest that in space
plasmas, the two major paths to dynamical complexity (SOC and turbulence)
are not mutually exclusive and possibly represent two facets of the same

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