From pre-storm activity to magnetic storms: a transition described in terms of fractal dynamics
Abstract. We show that distinct changes in scaling parameters of the Dst index time series occur as an intense magnetic storm approaches, revealing a gradual reduction in complexity. The remarkable acceleration of energy release – manifested in the increase in susceptibility – couples to the transition from anti-persistent (negative feedback) to persistent (positive feedback) behavior and indicates that the occurence of an intense magnetic storm is imminent. The main driver of the Dst index, the VBSouth electric field component, does not reveal a similar transition to persistency prior to the storm. This indicates that while the magnetosphere is mostly driven by the solar wind the critical feature of persistency in the magnetosphere is the result of a combination of solar wind and internal magnetospheric activity rather than solar wind variations alone. Our results suggest that the development of an intense magnetic storm can be studied in terms of "intermittent criticality" that is of a more general character than the classical self-organized criticality phenomena, implying the predictability of the magnetosphere.