Statistical properties of Charney-Hasegawa-Mima zonal flows

Johan Anderson, Gert Botha

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
6 Downloads (Pure)


A theoretical interpretation of numerically generated probability density functions (PDFs) of intermittent plasma transport events in unforced zonal flows is provided within the Charney-Hasegawa-Mima (CHM) model. The governing equation is solved numerically with various prescribed density gradients that are designed to produce different configurations of parallel and anti-parallel streams. Long-lasting vortices form whose flow is governed by the zonal streams. It is found that the numerically generated PDFs can be matched with analytical predictions of PDFs based on the instanton method by removing the autocorrelations from the time series. In many instances the statistics generated by the CHM dynamics relaxes to Gaussian distributions for both the electrostatic and vorticity perturbations, whereas in areas with strong nonlinear interactions it is found that the PDFs are exponentially distributed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)052305
JournalPhysics of Plasmas
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 11 May 2015


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