Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2009

Publication Title

Physical Review E

ISSN

1539-3755

Volume

79

First Page

046314-1

Last Page

046314-12

DOI

10.1103/PhysRevE.79.046314

Abstract

Experiments have shown that Lagrangian statistics in turbulent flows display Gaussianly distributed velocity values and non-Gaussianly distributed velocity differences or accelerations. Coherent flow structures in the form of vortices have often been proposed to play an important role in this behavior. Here we examine the origin of these statistics using both continuously stirred n-body point-vortex simulations and analytic random variable transformation in a simplified model of randomly distributed vortices. We conclude that Lagrangian velocity distributions can be understood in terms of dominant nearest vortex neighbor contributions. Accelerations likewise reflect vortical contributions, but at smallest temporal increment are dominated, not by the motion of the Lagrangian tracers, but by vorticity reconfiguration within the domain.