Complexity in space plasmas

Tom Chang, Sunny W.Y. Tam, Cheng chin Wu

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter describes the phenomenon of complexity related to intermittent turbulence in space plasmas. Such phenomenon is analogous to the classical avalanching process of sand piles. When coherent structures of opposite polarities approach each other because of the force of the surrounding plasma, they might repel each other, scatter, or induce magnetically quiescent localized regions. The description is based on the stochastic interactions of the multitude of coherent structures of varied sizes that arise naturally from plasma resonances because of nonlinear interactions. The chapter introduces the concept of topological magnetic reconfigurations because of coarse-graining dissipation-induced nonlinear instabilities. Such magnetic reconfiguration can take place even for conserved non-dissipative plasma systems and can provide a physical explanation of the magnetic reconnection processes for non-dissipative plasma media.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMultiscale Coupling of Sun-Earth Processes
Number of pages5
ISBN (Print)9780444518811
Publication statusPublished - 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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