Fluctuations of temperature gradients in turbulent thermal convection

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

Submitted on 22 March 2005


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=1.5x10^{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.


Subjects: Nonlinear Sciences - Chaotic Dynamics; Astrophysics; Condensed Matter - Statistical Mechanics