Finding first foliation tangencies in the Lorenz system

Jennifer L. Creaser, Bernd Krauskopf, and Hinke M. Osinga


Classical studies of chaos in the well-known Lorenz system are based on reduction to the one-dimensional Lorenz map, which captures the full behavior of the dynamics of the chaotic Lorenz attractor. This reduction requires that the stable and unstable foliations on a particular Poincaré section are transverse locally near the chaotic Lorenz attractor. We study when this so-called foliation condition fails for the first time and the classic Lorenz attractor becomes a quasi-attractor. This transition is characterized by the creation of tangencies between the stable and unstable foliations and the appearance of hooked horseshoes in the Poincaré return map. We consider how the three-dimensional phase space is organized by the global invariant manifolds of saddle equilibria and saddle periodic orbits — before and after the loss of the foliation condition. We compute these global objects as families of orbit segments, which are found by setting up a suitable two-point boundary value problem (BVP). We then formulate a multi-segment BVP to find the first tangency between the stable foliation and the intersection curves in the Poincaré section of the two-dimensional unstable manifold of a periodic orbit. It is a distinct advantage of our BVP set-up that we are able to detect and readily continue the locus of first foliation tangency in any plane of two parameters as part of the overall bifurcation diagram. Our computations show that the region of existence of the classic Lorenz attractor is bounded in each parameter plane. It forms a slanted (unbounded) cone in the three-parameter space with a curve of terminal-point or T-point bifurcations on the locus of first foliation tangency; we identify the tip of this cone as a codimension-three T-point-Hopf bifurcation point, where the curve of T-point bifurcations meets a surface of Hopf bifurcation. Moreover, we are able to find other first foliation tangencies for larger values of the parameters that are associated with additional T-point bifurcations: each tangency adds an extra twist to the central region of the quasi-attractor.

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Created by Hinke Osinga
Last modified: Sat Mar 11 19:01:14 NZDT 2017