Vortical control of forced two-dimensional turbulence

Jerome Jacob Louis Fontane, David Gerard Dritschel, Richard Kirkness Scott

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A new numerical technique for the simulation of forced two-dimensional turbulence[D. Dritschel and J. Fontane, “The combined Lagrangian advection method,” J. Comput. Phys.229, 5408–5417 (Year: 2010)10.1016/j.jcp.2010.03.048] is used to examine the validity of Kraichnan-Batchelor scaling laws at higher Reynolds number than previously accessible with classical pseudo-spectral methods, making use of large simulation ensembles to allow a detailed consideration of the inverse cascade in a quasi-steady state. Our results support the recent finding of Scott [R. Scott, “Nonrobustness of the two-dimensional turbulent inverse cascade,” Phys. Rev. E75, 046301 (Year: 2007)10.1103/PhysRevE.75.046301], namely that when a direct enstrophy cascading range is well-represented numerically, a steeper energy spectrum proportional to k−2 is obtained in place of the classical k −5/3 prediction. It is further shown that this steep spectrum is associated with a faster growth of energy at large scales, scaling like t −1 rather than Kraichnan's prediction of t −3/2. The deviation from Kraichnan's theory is related to the emergence of a population of vortices that dominate the distribution of energy across scales, and whose number density and vorticity distribution with respect to vortex area are related to the shape of the enstrophy spectrum. An analytical model is proposed which closely matches the numerical spectra between the large scales and the forcing scale.

Original languageEnglish
Article number015101
Number of pages12
JournalPhysics of Fluids
Issue number1
Early online date14 Jan 2013
Publication statusPublished - 14 Jan 2013


  • Two-dimensional turbulence


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