Articles | Volume 18, issue 10
31 Oct 2000
31 Oct 2000

On multifractality of high-latitude geomagnetic fluctuations

Z. Vörös

Abstract. In order to contribute to the understanding of solar wind-magnetosphere interactions the multifractal scaling properties of high-latitude geomagnetic fluctuations observed at the Thule observatory have been studied. Using the local observatory data and the present experimental knowledge only it seems hard to characterize directly the, presumably intermittent, mesoscale energy accumulation and dissipation processes taking place at the magnetotail, auroral region, etc. Instead a positive probability measure, describing the accumulated local geomagnetic signal energy content at the given time scales has been introduced and its scaling properties have been studied. There is evidence for the multifractal nature of the so defined intermittent field ε, a result obtained by using the recently introduced technique of large deviation multifractal spectra. This technique allows us to describe the geomagnetic fluctuations locally in time by means of singularity exponents α, which represent a generalization of the local degree of differentiability and characterize the power-law scaling dependence of the introduced measure on resolution. A global description of the geomagnetic fluctuations is insured by the spectrum of exponents f(α) which represents a rate function quantifying the deviations of the observed singularities α from the expected value. The results show that there exists a multifractal counterpart of the previously reported spectral break and different types of f(α) spectra describe the fluctuations in direct dissipation or loading-unloading regimes of the solar wind-magnetosphere interaction. On the time scale of substorms and storms the multi-fractal structure of the loading-unloading mode fluctuations seems to be analogous to the simple multiplicative P-model, while the f(α) spectra in direct dissipation regime are close but not equal to the features of a uniform distribution. Larger deviations from the multiplicative model are observed when the influence of the solar wind fluctuations is examined. On this basis it is expected that an extended multifractal analysis of the singularity structure of near-Earth plasma system fluctuations would lead to improved geomagnetic diagnosis of the magnetospheric dynamics.

Key words: Magnetospheric physics (magnetosphere-ionosphere interaction; solar wind-magnetosphere interactions; storms and substorms)