Canonical scale separation in two-dimensional incompressible hydrodynamics
Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift, 2022

The rules that govern a two-dimensional inviscid incompressible fluid are simple. Yet, to characterise the long-time behaviour is a knotty problem. The fluid fulfils Euler's equations: a nonlinear Hamiltonian system with an infinite number of conservation laws. In both experiments and numerical simulations, coherent vortex structures emerge after an initial stage. These formations dominate the large-scale dynamics, but small scales also emerge and persist. The resulting scale separation resembles Kraichnan's theory of forward and backward cascades of enstrophy and energy. Previous attempts to model the double cascade use filtering techniques that enforce separation from the outset. Here, we show that Euler's equations possess an intrinsic, canonical splitting of the vorticity function. The splitting is remarkable in four ways: (i) it is defined solely by the Poisson bracket and the Hamiltonian; (ii) it characterises steady flows; (iii) it innately separates scales, enabling the dynamics behind Kraichnan's qualitative description; and (iv) it accounts for 'broken line' energy spectra observed in both experiments and numerical simulations. The splitting originates from Zeitlin's truncated model of Euler's equations in combination with a standard quantum tool: the spectral decomposition of Hermitian matrices. In addition to theoretical insight, the scale separation dynamics enables stochastic model reduction, where multiplicative noise models small scales.

Hamiltonian theory

computational methods


Klas Modin

Göteborgs universitet

Chalmers, Matematiska vetenskaper, Tillämpad matematik och statistik

Milo Viviani

Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa

Journal of Fluid Mechanics

0022-1120 (ISSN) 1469-7645 (eISSN)

Vol. 943 A36



Annan fysik

Strömningsmekanik och akustik



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