, Volume 21, Issue 3, pp 263-277

Metastable chaos: The transition to sustained chaotic behavior in the Lorenz model

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The system of equations introduced by Lorenz to model turbulent convective flow is studied here for Rayleigh numbersr somewhat smaller than the critical value required for sustained chaotic behavior. In this regime the system is found to exhibit transient chaotic behavior. Some statistical properties of this transient chaos are examined numerically. A mean decay time from chaos to steady flow is found and its dependence uponr is studied both numerically and (very close to the criticalr) analytically.

This work was supported in part by NASA grant NSG 5209; partial support of computer costs was provided by the University of Maryland-Baltimore County Computer Center.