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The geodynamo as a low-dimensional deterministic system at the edge of chaos

Lookup NU author(s): David Ryan, Dr Graeme Sarson


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We perform non-linear time series analysis tests on the SINT 2000 paleomagnetic record of the Earth's virtual axial dipole moment for the past 2 Ma, and find evidence of low-dimensional deterministic chaos. We reconstruct the phase space attractor using embedded time delay vectors, and compare the result with reconstructions from time series of a turbulent mean field dynamo model, which exhibits a similar attractor structure. Considered alongside evidence of 1/f noise and lognormality in the paleomagnetic record, this suggests an important role for multiplicative noise, which may maintain the dynamo at the edge of chaos. In contrast to characterisations of geomagnetic reversals as stochastic processes, this work supports their interpretation as the outcome of a deterministic dynamical system. Copyright (C) EPLA, 2008.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Ryan DA, Sarson GR

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Europhysics Letters

Year: 2008

Volume: 83

Issue: 4

ISSN (print): 0295-5075

ISSN (electronic): 1286-4854

Publisher: EDP Sciences


DOI: 10.1209/0295-5075/83/49001


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Funder referenceFunder name
NSF PHYS05-51164US National Science Foundation