Mean wind and its reversal in thermal convection

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

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Properties of the mean wind in thermal convection, especially the abrupt reversal of its direction at high Rayleigh numbers, are studied. Measurements made in a closed cylindrical container of aspect ratio 1 are analyzed, and both the long-term and short-term behaviors of the direction reversals are discussed. A first look at the data suggests a Brownian-type process in action, but a closer look suggests the existence of hierarchical features with time scales extending roughly over a decade and a half. A physical model consistent with experimental observations is presented, and the origin of the cutoff scales is discussed. It appears that the generation of the wind as well as the reversal of its direction can be understood in terms of the imbalance between buoyancy effects and friction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number056306
Pages (from-to)056306/1-056306/11
JournalPhysical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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