In dynamical systems, the growth of infinitesimal perturbations is well characterized by the Lyapunov exponents. In many situations of interest, however, important phenomena involve finite amplitude perturbations, which are ruled by nonlinear dynamics out of tangent space, and thus cannot be captured by the standard Lyapunov exponents. We review the application of the finite size Lyapunov exponent (FSLE) for the characterization of non-infinitesimal perturbations in a variety of systems. In particular, we illustrate their usage in the context of predictability of systems with multiple spatio-temporal scales of geophysical relevance, in the characterization of nonlinear instabilities, and in some aspects of transport in fluid flows. We also discuss the application of the FSLE to more general aspects such as chaos-noise detection and coarse-grained descriptions of signals.
Finite size Lyapunov exponent: review on applications / Massimo, Cencini; Vulpiani, Angelo. - In: JOURNAL OF PHYSICS. A, MATHEMATICAL AND THEORETICAL. - ISSN 1751-8113. - STAMPA. - 46:25(2013), p. 254019. [10.1088/1751-8113/46/25/254019]