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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Coherent structure phenomena in drift wave-zonal flow turbulence

  • Author(s): Smolyakov, AI
  • Diamond, PH
  • Malkov, M
  • et al.

Zonal flows are azimuthally symmetric plasma potential perturbations spontaneously generated from small-scale drift-wave fluctuations via the action of Reynolds stresses. We show that, after initial linear growth, zonal flows can undergo further nonlinear evolution leading to the formation of long-lived coherent structures which consist of self-bound wave packets supporting stationary shear layers. Such coherent zonal flow structures constitute dynamical paradigms for intermittency in drift-wave turbulence that manifests itself by the intermittent distribution of regions with a reduced level of anomalous transport.

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