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Journal Articles Communications Physics Year : 2020

From the butterfly effect to spontaneous stochasticity in singular shear flows

Abstract

The butterfly effect is today commonly identified with the sensitive dependence of deter- ministic chaotic systems upon initial conditions. However, this is only one facet of the notion of unpredictability pioneered by Lorenz, who actually predicted that multiscale fluid flows could spontaneously lose their deterministic nature and become intrinsically random. This effect, which is radically different from chaos, have remained out of reach for detailed phy- sical observations. Here we show that this scenario is inherent to the elementary Kelvin–Helmholtz hydrodynamical instability of an initially singular shear layer. We moreover provide evidence that the resulting macroscopic flow displays universal statistical properties that are triggered by, but independent of specific physical properties at micro-scales. This spontaneous stochasticity is interpreted as an Eulerian counterpart to Richardson’s relative dispersion of Lagrangian particles, giving substance to the intrinsic nature of randomness in turbulence.
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Dates and versions

hal-02615093 , version 1 (17-01-2024)

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Simon Thalabard, Jérémie Bec, Alexei Mailybaev. From the butterfly effect to spontaneous stochasticity in singular shear flows. Communications Physics, 2020, 3, pp.122. ⟨10.1038/s42005-020-0391-6⟩. ⟨hal-02615093⟩
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