Fluctuations of temperature gradients in turbulent thermal convection

K. R. Sreenivasan, A. Bershadskii, J. J. Niemela

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Broad theoretical arguments are proposed to show, formally, that the magnitude G of the temperature gradients in turbulent thermal convection at high Rayleigh numbers obeys the same advection-diffusion equation that governs the temperature fluctuation T, except that the velocity field in the new equation is substantially smoothed. This smoothed field leads to a -1 scaling of the spectrum of G in the same range of scales for which the spectral exponent of T lies between -7/5 and -5/3. This result is confirmed by measurements in a confined container with cryogenic helium gas as the working fluid for Rayleigh number Ra = 1.5 × 101 11. Also confirmed is the logarithmic form of the autocorrelation function of G. The anomalous scaling of dissipation-like quantities of T and G are identical in the inertial range, showing that the analogy between the two fields is quite deep.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number035302
JournalPhysical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Statistics and Probability
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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