Entropy, Vol. 22, Pages 276: Measuring Information Coupling between the Solar Wind and the Magnetosphere–Ionosphere System

Research paper by Mirko Stumpo, Giuseppe Consolini, Tommaso Alberti, Virgilio Quattrociocchi

Indexed on: 11 Mar '20Published on: 28 Feb '20Published in: Entropy (Basel, Switzerland)


The interaction between the solar wind and the Earth’s magnetosphere–ionosphere system is very complex, being essentially the result of the interplay between an external driver, the solar wind, and internal processes to the magnetosphere–ionosphere system. In this framework, modelling the Earth’s magnetosphere–ionosphere response to the changes of the solar wind conditions requires a correct identification of the causality relations between the different parameters/quantities used to monitor this coupling. Nowadays, in the framework of complex dynamical systems, both linear statistical tools and Granger causality models drastically fail to detect causal relationships between time series. Conversely, information theory-based concepts can provide powerful model-free statistical quantities capable of disentangling the complex nature of the causal relationships. In this work, we discuss how to deal with the problem of measuring causal information in the solar wind–magnetosphere–ionosphere system. We show that a time delay of about 30–60 min is found between solar wind and magnetospheric and ionospheric overall dynamics as monitored by geomagnetic indices, with a great information transfer observed between the z component of the interplanetary magnetic field and geomagnetic indices, while a lower transfer is found when other solar wind parameters are considered. This suggests that the best candidate for modelling the geomagnetic response to solar wind changes is the interplanetary magnetic field component B z . A discussion of the relevance of our results in the framework of Space Weather is also provided.