Articles | Volume 27, issue 4
14 Apr 2009
 | 14 Apr 2009

Cluster and ACE observations of phase synchronization in intermittent magnetic field turbulence: a comparative study of shocked and unshocked solar wind

A. C.-L. Chian and R. A. Miranda

Abstract. We apply two distinct nonlinear techniques, kurtosis and phase coherence index, to analyze the modulus of interplanetary magnetic field data |B| measured by Cluster and ACE spacecraft from 1 to 3 February 2002. High degree of phase synchronization is found across a wide range of time scales, from 1 s to 104 s, in the magnetic field fluctuations, both in the shocked solar wind upstream of Earth's bow shock and in the unshocked ambient solar wind at the L1 Lagrangian point. This is the first direct measurement of phase coherence in the ambient solar wind turbulence. We show that phase synchronization related to nonlinear multiscale interactions is the origin of the departure from Gaussianity in the intermittent magnetic field turbulence. In particular, we demonstrate that at small scales near the spectral break the intermittency level of Cluster is lower than ACE, which may be a signature of the reflected ions from the shock.