Anomalous diffusion in geophysical and laboratory turbulence

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Abstract

We present an overview and some new results on anomalous diffusion of passive scalar in turbulent flows (including those used by Richardson in his famous paper in 1926). The obtained results are based on the analysis of the properties of invariant quantities (energy, enstrophy, dissipation, enstrophy generation, helicity density, etc.) - i.e. independent of the choice of the system of reference as the most appropriate to describe physical processes - in three different turbulent laboratory flows (grid-flow, jet and boundary layer, see Tsinober et al. (1992) and Kit et al. (1993)). The emphasis is made on the relations between the asymptotic properties of the intermittency exponents of higher order moments of different turbulent fields (energy, dissipation, helicity, spontaneous breaking of isotropy and reflexional symmetry) and the variability of turbulent diffusion in the atmospheric boundary layer, in the troposphere and in the stratosphere. It is argued that local spontaneous breaking of isotropy of turbulent flow results in anomalous scaling laws for turbulent diffusion (as compared to the scaling law of Richardson) which are observed, as a rule, in different atmospheric layers from the atmospheric boundary layer (ABL) to the stratosphere. Breaking of rotational symmetry is important in the ABL, whereas reflexional symmetry breaking is dominating in the troposphere locally and in the stratosphere globally. The results are of speculative nature and further analysis is necessary to validate or disprove the claims made, since the correspondence with the experimental results may occur for the wrong reasons as happens from time to time in the field of turbulence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)80-94
Number of pages15
JournalNonlinear Processes in Geophysics
Volume1
Issue number2-3
DOIs
StatePublished - 1994

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