Explicit inertial range renormalization theory in a model for turbulent diffusion

Andrew J. Majda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The inertial range for a statistical turbulent velocity field consists of those scales that are larger than the dissipation scale but smaller than the integral scale. Here the complete scale-invariant explicit inertial range renormalization theory for all the higher-order statistics of a diffusing passive scalar is developed in a model which, despite its simplicity, involves turbulent diffusion by statistical velocity fields with arbitrarily many scales, infrared divergence, long-range spatial correlations, and rapid fluctuations in time-such velocity fields retain several characteristic features of those in fully developed turbulence. The main tool in the development of this explicit renormalization theory for the model is an exact quantum mechanical analogy which relates higher-order statistics of the diffusing scalar to the properties of solutions of a family of N- body parabolic quantum problems. The canonical inertial range renormalized statistical fixed point is developed explicitly here as a function of the velocity spectral parameter e{open}, which measures the strength of the infrared divergence: for e{open}<2, mean-field behavior in the inertial range occurs with Gaussian statistical behavior for the scalar and standard diffusive scaling laws; for e{open}>2 a phase transition occurs to a fixed point with anomalous inertial range scaling laws and a non-Gaussian renormalized statistical fixed point. Several explicit connections between the renormalization theory in the model and intermediate asymptotics are developed explicitly as well as links between anomalous turbulent decay and explicit spectral properties of Schrödinger operators. The differences between this inertial range renormalization theory and the earlier theories for large-scale eddy diffusivity developed by Avellaneda and the author in such models are also discussed here.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)515-542
Number of pages28
JournalJournal of Statistical Physics
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Nov 1993


  • Turbulent diffusion
  • inertial range renormalization
  • long-range correlations
  • quantum mechanical analogy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Mathematical Physics


Dive into the research topics of 'Explicit inertial range renormalization theory in a model for turbulent diffusion'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this