Many approaches exist for scientific investigations and space research is no exception. The early approach during which each space plasma region within the Sun-Earth system was investigated separately with physics-based tools has now progressed to encompass investigations on coupling between these regions. Ample evidence now exists indicating the dynamic processes in these regions exhibit disturbances over a wide range of scales both in time and space. This new reckoning naturally leads to an emerging perspective of probing these natural phenomena with concepts and tools developed in modern statistical mechanics for physical processes governing the evolution of out-of-equilibrium and complex systems.
These new developments have prompted a topical conference on Sun-Earth connection, held on February 9-13, 2004 at Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, USA, with the goal of promoting interactions among scientists practicing the traditional physics-based approach and those utilizing modern statistical techniques.
This monograph is a product of this conference, a compilation of thirty-nine articles assembled into seven chapters: (1) multiscale features in complexity dynamics, (2) space storms, (3) magnetospheric substorms, (4) turbulence and magnetic reconnection, (5) modeling and coupling of space phenomena, (6) techniques for multiscale space plasma problems, and (7) present and future multiscale space missions. These articles show a diversity of space phenomena exhibiting scale free characteristics, intermittency, and non-Gaussian distributions of probability density function of fluctuations in the physical parameters of the Sun-Earth system. The scope covers the latest observations, theories, simulations, and techniques on the multiscale nature of Sun-Earth phenomena and underscores the usefulness in cross-disciplinary exchange needed to unravel the underlying physical processes, which may eventually lead to a possible unified description and prediction for space disturbances.