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Multiscale interaction of a tearing mode with drift wave turbulence: A minimal self-consistent model

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A minimal self-consistent model of the multiscale interaction of a tearing mode with drift wave turbulence is presented. A tearing instability in a cylindrical plasma interacting with electrostatic drift waves is considered, for reasons of simplicity. Wave kinetics and adiabatic theory are used to treat the feedback of tearing mode flows on the drift waves via shearing and radial advection. The stresses exerted by the self-consistently evolved drift wave population density on the tearing mode are calculated by mean field methods. The principal effect of the drift waves is to pump the resonant low- m mode via a negative viscosity, consistent with the classical notion of an inverse cascade in quasi-two-dimensional turbulence. This process can occur alone or in synergy with current gradient drive of the low- m mode. Speculations of the relation of this multiscale process to the more general issue of the fate of energy transferred to large scales by an inverse cascade are presented. The existence of nonlinearly driven vortices pinned to low- q surfaces as a class of highly anisotropic dissipative structures which terminate the inverse cascade is proposed. The evolution of a finite size magnetic island is discussed. © 2006 American Institute of Physics.

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