Thermal fluctuations and their ordering in turbulent convection

Joe J. Niemela, K. R. Sreenivasan

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


In highly nonlinear thermal convection, random fluctuations within the flow organize themselves into a self-sustaining large-scale circulation. We experimentally study some properties of this mean "wind", including the irregular reversal of its direction. We show that the energy in the organized motion is a small fraction of the thermal energy input, and becomes increasingly smaller as the Rayleigh number increases. A rough correspondence can be made to self-organized criticality from the analysis of various probability density functions associated with the fluctuating wind.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)203-214
Number of pages12
JournalPhysica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Nov 15 2002
EventSlow Dynamical Processes in Nature - Seoul, Korea, Republic of
Duration: Nov 25 2001Nov 27 2001


  • Rayleigh number
  • Turbulent convection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistics and Probability
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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