Articles | Volume 16, issue 12
31 Dec 1998
31 Dec 1998

Low frequency 1/f-like fluctuations of the AE-index as a possible manifestation of self-organized criticality in the magnetosphere

V. M. Uritsky and M. I. Pudovkin

Abstract. Low frequency stochastic variations of the geomagnetic AE-index characterized by 1/f b-like power spectrum (where f is a frequency) are studied. Based on the analysis of experimental data we show that the Bz-component of IMF, velocity of solar wind plasma, and the coupling function of Akasofu are insufficient factors to explain these behaviors of the AE-index together with the 1/f b fluctuations of geomagnetic intensity. The effect of self-organized criticality (SOC) is proposed as an internal mechanism to generate 1/f b fluctuations in the magnetosphere. It is suggested that localized spatially current instabilities, developing in the magnetospheric tail at the initial substorm phase can be considered as SOC avalanches or dynamic clusters, superposition of which leads to the 1/f b fluctuations of macroscopic characteristics in the system. Using the sandpile model of SOC, we undertake numerical modeling of space-localized and global disturbances of magnetospheric current layer. Qualitative conformity between the disturbed dynamics of self-organized critical state of the model and the main phases of real magnetospheric substorm development is demonstrated. It is also shown that power spectrum of sandpile model fluctuations controlled by real solar wind parameters reproduces all distinctive spectral features of the AE fluctuations.

Key words. Magnetospheric physics (MHD waves and instabilities; solar wind · magnetosphere interactions; storms and substroms).