Direct numerical simulation of intermittent turbulence under stably stratified conditions

P. He*, S. Basu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper, we simulate intermittent turbulence (also known as bursting events) in stably stratified open-channel flows using direct numerical simulation. Clear signatures of this intriguing phenomenon are observed for a range of stabilities. However, the spatiotemporal characteristics of intermittency are found to be strongly stability dependent. In general, the bursting events are much more frequent near the bottom wall than in the upper-channel region. A steady coexistence of laminar and turbulent flows is detected at various horizontal planes in very stable cases. This spatially intermittent pattern is found to propagate downstream and strongly correlate with the temporal evolution of intermittency. Lastly, a long standing hypothesis by Blackadar (1979), i.e., the strong connection between local stability and intermittent turbulence, is corroborated by this modeling study.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)447-471
Number of pages25
JournalNonlinear Processes in Geophysics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jul 2015
Externally publishedYes


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