Learning how structures form in drift-wave turbulence
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Learning how structures form in drift-wave turbulence


Abstract Drift-wave turbulence produces anomalous transport via cross-correlations between fluctuations. This transport has profound implications for confinement, structure formation, and virtually all aspects of the non-linear turbulent dynamics. In this work, we use a data-driven method based on deep learning in order to study turbulent transport in the 2D Hasegawa–Wakatani system and infer a reduced mean-field model from numerical solution. In addition to the usual turbulent diffusion, we find an effect which couples the particle flux to the local gradient of vorticity, which tends to modulate the density profile. The direct coupling to the shear is relatively weak. In addition, the deep learning method finds a model for spontaneous zonal flow generation by negative viscosity, stabilized by non-linear and hyperviscous terms. We compare these results to analytic calculations using quasilinear theory and wave kinetics, finding qualitative agreement, though the calculations miss certain higher-order effects. A simplified, 1-D model for the evolution of the profile, flow, and intensity based on the deep learning results is solved numerically and compared to previous models for staircasing based on bistability. We see that the physics uncovered by the deep learning method provided simple explanations for the formation of zonal structures in the density, flow, and turbulence fields. We highlight the important role of symmetry in the deep learning method and speculate on the portability of the method to other applications.

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