Impact of large scale flows on turbulent transport


The impact of large scale flows on turbulent transport in magnetized plasmas is explored by means of various kinetic models. Zonal flows are found to lead to a non-linear upshift of turbulent transport in a 3D kinetic model for interchange turbulence. Such a transition is absent from fluid simulations, performed with the same numerical tool, which also predict a much larger transport. The discrepancy cannot be explained by zonal flows only, despite they being overdamped in fluids. Indeed, some difference remains, although reduced, when they are artificially suppressed. Zonal flows are also reported to trigger transport barriers in a 4D drift-kinetic model for slab ion temperature gradient (ITG) turbulence. The density gradient acts as a source drive for zonal flows, while their curvature back stabilizes the turbulence. Finally, 5D simulations of toroidal ITG modes with the global and full- f GYSELA code require the equilibrium density function to depend on the motion invariants only. If not, the generated strong mean flows can completely quench turbulent transport.

Plasma Physics and Controlled Fusion