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Oscillation or rotation: a comparison of two simple reversal models

Stefani, F.; Xu, M.; Sorriso-Valvo, L.; Gerbeth, G.; Günther, U.

Abstract

The asymmetric shape of reversals of the Earth's magnetic field indicates a possible connection with relaxation oscillations as they were early discussed by van der Pol. A simple mean-field dynamo model with a spherically symmetric alpha coefficient is analysed with view on this similarity, and a comparison of the time series and the phase space trajectories with those of paleomagnetic measurements is carried out. For highly supercritical dynamos a very good agreement with the data is achieved. Deviations of numerical reversal sequences from Poisson statistics are analysed and compared with paleomagnetic data. The role of the inner core is discussed in a spectral theoretical context and arguments and numerical evidence is compiled that the growth of the inner core might be important for the long term changes of the reversal rate and the occurrence of superchrons.

Permalink: https://www.hzdr.de/publications/Publ-9180