COMPLEX SYSTEMS SEMINAR
Turbulence in Two Dimensions


Oct
09
2012

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  • Speaker: Robert Ecke, Director of the Center for Nonlinear Studies (Los Alamos)
  • Host Department: Physics
  • Date: 10/09/2012
  • Time: 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

  • Location: 411 West Hall

  • Description:

    Fluid turbulence is central to transport and mixing in many
    contexts from atmospheres and oceans to internal combustion vehicles.
    Turbulence in three spatial dimensions is dominated by the net
    transfer of kinetic energy from large scales to small scales where it
    is dissipated as heat. In contrast, conservation laws in two
    dimensions lead to a very different scenario, namely that energy flows
    to larger scales whereas the flow to smaller scales is dominated by a
    process of vortex gradient stretching. I will discuss the
    characteristics of 2D turbulence and its applicability (or not) to
    atmospheres and oceans where lateral extent is large compared to
    vertical height. Because 2D turbulence technically only occurs in a
    computer, quasi-2D experiments that are well described by 2D
    turbulence phenomenology suggest its relevance to real physical
    systems. In particular, I will describe experiments in flowing soap
    films and in electrically forced thin salt layers that show remarkable
    correspondence to the theory and numerical simulation of 2D
    turbulence.


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