Intermittent chaos driven by nonlinear Alfvén waves
- National Institute for Space Research (INPE) and World Institute for Space Environment Research (WISER), P.O. Box 515, São José dos Campos, SP-12227-010, Brazil
Abstract. We investigate the relevance of chaotic saddles and unstable periodic orbits at the onset of intermittent chaos in the phase dynamics of nonlinear Alfvén waves by using the Kuramoto-Sivashinsky (KS) equation as a model for phase dynamics. We focus on the role of nonattracting chaotic solutions of the KS equation, known as chaotic saddles, in the transition from weak chaos to strong chaos via an interior crisis and show how two of these unstable chaotic saddles can interact to produce the plasma intermittency observed in the strongly chaotic regimes. The dynamical systems approach discussed in this work can lead to a better understanding of the mechanisms responsible for the phenomena of intermittency in space plasmas.