Abstract:
We study the scaling properties of heat transfer $Nu$ in turbulent thermal convection at large Prandtl number $Pr$ using a quasi-linear theory. We show that two regimes arise, depending on the Reynolds number $Re$. At low Reynolds number, $Nu Pr^{-1/2}$ and $Re$ are a function of $Ra Pr^{-3/2}$. At large Reynolds number $Nu Pr^{1/3}$ and $Re Pr$ are function only of $Ra Pr^{2/3}$ (within logarithmic corrections). In practice, since $Nu$ is always close to $Ra^{1/3}$, this corresponds to a much weaker dependence of the heat transfer in the Prandtl number at low Reynolds number than at large Reynolds number. This difference may solve an existing controversy between measurements in SF6 (large $Re$) and in alcohol/water (lower $Re$). We link these regimes with a possible global bifurcation in the turbulent mean flow. We further show how a scaling theory could be used to describe these two regimes through a single universal function. This function presents a bimodal character for intermediate range of Reynolds number. We explain this bimodality in term of two dissipation regimes, one in which fluctuation dominate, and one in which mean flow dominates. Altogether, our results provide a six parameters fit of the curve $Nu(Ra,Pr)$ which may be used to describe all measurements at $Pr\ge 0.7$.

Abstract:
A solvable turbulent model is used to predict both the structure of the boundary layer and the scaling laws in thermal convection. The transport of heat depends on the interplay between the thermal, viscous and integral scales of turbulence, and thus, on both the Prandtl number and the Reynolds numbers. Depending on their values, a wide variety of possible regimes is found, including the classical 2/7 and 1/3 law, and a new $4/13=0.308$ law for the Nusselt power law variation with the Rayleigh number.

Abstract:
We use an analytic toy model of turbulent convection to show that most of the scaling regimes are spoiled by logarithmic corrections, in a way consistent with the most accurate experimental measurements available nowadays. This sets a need for the search of new measurable quantities which are less prone to dimensional theories.

Abstract:
We generalize an analogy between rotating and stratified shear flows. This analogy is summarized in Table 1. We use this analogy in the unstable case (centrifugally unstable flow v.s. convection) to compute the torque in Taylor-Couette configuration, as a function of the Reynolds number. At low Reynolds numbers, when most of the dissipation comes from the mean flow, we predict that the non-dimensional torque $G=T/\nu^2L$, where $L$ is the cylinder length, scales with Reynolds number $R$ and gap width $\eta$, $G=1.46 \eta^{3/2} (1-\eta)^{-7/4}R^{3/2}$. At larger Reynolds number, velocity fluctuations become non-negligible in the dissipation. In these regimes, there is no exact power law dependence the torque versus Reynolds. Instead, we obtain logarithmic corrections to the classical ultra-hard (exponent 2) regimes: $$ G=0.50\frac{\eta^{2}}{(1-\eta)^{3/2}}\frac{R^{2}}{\ln[\eta^2(1-\eta)R^ 2/10^4]^{3/2}}.$$ These predictions are found to be in excellent agreement with available experimental data. Predictions for scaling of velocity fluctuations are also provided.

Abstract:
We adapt the statistical mechanics of the shallow-water equations to the case where the flow is forced at small scales. We assume that the statistics of forcing is encoded in a prior potential vorticity distribution which replaces the specification of the Casimir constraints in the case of freely evolving flows. This determines a generalized entropy functional which is maximized by the coarse-grained PV field at statistical equilibrium. Relaxation equations towards equilibrium are derived which conserve the robust constraints (energy, mass and circulation) and increase the generalized entropy.

Abstract:
Nonlinear feedbacks in the Earth System provide mechanisms that can prove very useful in understanding complex dynamics with relatively simple concepts. For example, the temperature and the ice cover of the planet are linked in a positive feedback which gives birth to multiple equilibria for some values of the solar constant: fully ice-covered Earth, ice-free Earth and an intermediate unstable solution. In this study, we show an analogy between a classical dynamical system approach to this problem and a Maximum Entropy Production (MEP) principle view, and we suggest a glimpse on how to reconcile MEP with the time evolution of a variable. It enables us in particular to resolve the question of the stability of the entropy production maxima. We also compare the surface heat flux obtained with MEP and with the bulk-aerodynamic formula.

Abstract:
Nonlinear feedbacks in the Earth System provide mechanisms that can prove very useful in understanding complex dynamics with relatively simple concepts. For example, the temperature and the ice cover of the planet are linked in a positive feedback which gives birth to multiple equilibria for some values of the solar constant: fully ice-covered Earth, ice-free Earth and an intermediate unstable solution. In this study, we show an analogy between a classical dynamical system approach to this problem and a Maximum Entropy Production (MEP) principle view, and we suggest a glimpse on how to reconcile MEP with the time evolution of a variable. It enables us in particular to resolve the question of the stability of the entropy production maxima. We also compare the surface heat flux obtained with MEP and with the bulk-aerodynamic formula.

Abstract:
A simplified thermodynamic approach of the incompressible 2D Euler equation is considered based on the conservation of energy, circulation and microscopic enstrophy. Statistical equilibrium states are obtained by maximizing the Miller-Robert-Sommeria (MRS) entropy under these sole constraints. The vorticity fluctuations are Gaussian while the mean flow is characterized by a linear $\bar{\omega}-\psi$ relationship. Furthermore, the maximization of entropy at fixed energy, circulation and microscopic enstrophy is equivalent to the minimization of macroscopic enstrophy at fixed energy and circulation. This provides a justification of the minimum enstrophy principle from statistical mechanics when only the microscopic enstrophy is conserved among the infinite class of Casimir constraints. A new class of relaxation equations towards the statistical equilibrium state is derived. These equations can provide an effective description of the dynamics towards equilibrium or serve as numerical algorithms to determine maximum entropy or minimum enstrophy states. We use these relaxation equations to study geometry induced phase transitions in rectangular domains. In particular, we illustrate with the relaxation equations the transition between monopoles and dipoles predicted by Chavanis and Sommeria [J. Fluid. Mech. 314, 267 (1996)]. We take into account stable as well as metastable states and show that metastable states are robust and have negative specific heats. This is the first evidence of negative specific heats in that context. We also argue that saddle points of entropy can be long-lived and play a role in the dynamics because the system may not spontaneously generate the perturbations that destabilize them.

Abstract:
Using a Maximum Entropy Production Principle (MEPP), we derive a new type of relaxation equations for two-dimensional turbulent flows in the case where a prior vorticity distribution is prescribed instead of the Casimir constraints [Ellis, Haven, Turkington, Nonlin., 15, 239 (2002)]. The particular case of a Gaussian prior is specifically treated in connection to minimum enstrophy states and Fofonoff flows. These relaxation equations are compared with other relaxation equations proposed by Robert and Sommeria [Phys. Rev. Lett. 69, 2776 (1992)] and Chavanis [Physica D, 237, 1998 (2008)]. They can provide a small-scale parametrization of 2D turbulence or serve as numerical algorithms to compute maximum entropy states with appropriate constraints. We perform numerical simulations of these relaxation equations in order to illustrate geometry induced phase transitions in geophysical flows.

Abstract:
We study an example of instability in presence of a multiplicative noise, namely the spontaneous generation of a magnetic field in a turbulent medium. This so-called turbulent dynamo problem remains challenging, experimentally and theoretically. In this field, the prevailing theory is the Mean-Field Dynamo (Krause and R\"{a}dler, 1980) where the dynamo effect is monitored by the mean magnetic field (other possible choices would be the energy, flux,...). In recent years, it has been shown on stochastic oscillators that this type of approach could be misleading. In this paper, we develop a stochastic description of the turbulent dynamo effect which permits us to define unambiguously a threshold for the dynamo effect, namely by globally analyzing the probability density function of the magnetic field instead of a given moment.