Articles | Volume 3, issue 1
Nonlin. Processes Geophys., 3, 47–57, 1996
https://doi.org/10.5194/npg-3-47-1996

Special issue: URSI and STEP/GAPS Workshop

Nonlin. Processes Geophys., 3, 47–57, 1996
https://doi.org/10.5194/npg-3-47-1996

  31 Mar 1996

31 Mar 1996

A note on chaotic vs. stochastic behavior of the high-latitude ionospheric plasma density fluctuations

A. W. Wernik1 and K. C. Yeh2 A. W. Wernik and K. C. Yeh
  • 1Space Research Center, Polish Academy of Sciences, ul. Bartycka 18a, Warsaw, Poland
  • 2College of Engineering, National Sun Yat-sen University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan, R.O.C.

Abstract. Four data sets of density fluctuations measured in-situ by the Dynamics Explorer (DE 2) were analyzed in an attempt to study chaotic nature of the high-latitude turbulence and, in this way to complement the conventional spectral analysis. It has been found that the probability distribution function of density differences is far from Gaussian and similar to that observed in the intermittent fluid or MBD turbulence. This indicates that ionospheric density fluctuations are not stochastic but coherent to some extent. Wayland's and surrogate data tests for determinism in a time series of density data allowed us to differentiate between regions of intense shear and moderate shear. We observe that in the region of strong field aligned currents (FAC) and intense shear, or along the convection in the collisional regime, ionospheric turbulence behaves like a random noise with non-Gaussian statistics implying that the underlying physical process is nondeterministic. On the other hand, when FACs are weak, and shear is moderate or observations made in the inertial regime the turbulence is chaotic. The attractor dimension is lowest (1.9) for "old" convected irregularities. The dimension 3.2 is found for turbulence in the inertial regime and considerably smaller (2.4) in the collisional regime. It is suggested that a high dimension in the inertial regime may be caused by a complicated velocity structure in the shear instability region.