Nonlinear dynamics of turbulent waves in fluids and plasmas
Abstract. In a model drift wave system that is interesting both in fluids and plasmas, we find that an embedded moving saddle point plays an important role at the onset of turbulence. Here the saddle point is actually a saddle steady wave, in its moving frame the wave system can be transformed into a set of coupled oscillators whose motion is affected by the saddle steady wave as if it is a potential. It is found that a collision with the saddle point triggers a crisis, following the collision another dynamic event occurs which involves a transition in the phase state of the master oscillator. Only after the latter event the spatial regularity is destroyed. The phase dynamics before and after the transition is further investigated. It is found that in a spatially coherent state before the transition the oscillators reach a functional phase synchronization collectively with or without phase slips, after the transition in the turbulent state an on-off imperfect synchronization is established among the oscillators with long wavelengths. When the synchronization is on, their amplitudes grow up simultaneously, giving rise to a burst in the total wave energy. A power law behavior is observed in the correlation function between phases of the oscillators. Potential application of our results in prediction of energy bursts in turbulence is discussed.