Europhys. Lett.
Volume 66, Number 1, April 2004
Page(s) 146 - 152
Section Geophysics, astronomy, and astrophysics
Published online 01 March 2004
Europhys. Lett., 66 (1) , pp. 146-152 (2004)
DOI: 10.1209/epl/i2003-10154-7

A possible truncated-Lévy-flight statistics recovered from interplanetary solar-wind velocity and magnetic-field fluctuations

R. Bruno1, L. Sorriso-Valvo2, V. Carbone2 and B. Bavassano1

1  Istituto Fisica Spazio Interplanetario del CNR - 00133 Roma, Italy
2  Dipartimento di Fisica, Università della Calabria - 87036 Rende (Cs), and Istituto Nazionale di Fisica della Materia, Sezione di Cosenza - Cosenza, Italy

(Received 13 October 2003; accepted in final form 3 February 2004)

Interplanetary solar-wind fluctuations have been studied in the inner heliosphere and within the MHD range of scales. We found that fluctuations are such that velocity and magnetic-field vectors, which initially keep their orientation around a given direction in space during a certain time interval, abruptly change direction to fluctuate around a new orientation. This behavior is then repeated several times per hour. This kind of phenomenon resembles a Lévy-flight behavior and stimulated us to compare these observations with a Lévy statistics, particularly sensitive to long-range correlations. In particular, we considered the distribution function of velocity and magnetic-field vector differences within fast and slow wind. This analysis showed that our observations can be reasonably fitted by a truncated-Lévy-flight (TLF) distribution. Moreover, we found a clear radial dependence for the PDFs of these fluctuations to evolve from Gaussian-like to possible TLF only within fast wind. We provide an explanation for what we observe in terms of a competing action between quasi-stochastic, propagating fluctuations and convected structures, both contributing to solar-wind turbulent fluctuations.

96.50.Bh - Solar and interplanetary electric and magnetic fields (including solar wind fields).
96.50.Ci - Solar wind plasma.
05.45.-a - Nonlinear dynamics and nonlinear dynamical systems.

© EDP Sciences 2004