Anisotropic Inverse Cascade toward Zonal Flow in Magnetically Confined Plasmas

Alexander M. Balk


We propose a new mechanism for the generation of zonal flows in magnetically confined plasmas, complementing previous theories based on a modulational instability. We derive a new conservation law that operates in the regime of weakly nonlinear dynamics, and show that it serves to focus the inverse cascade of turbulent drift wave energy into zonal flows. This mechanism continues to operate in the absence of the separation of dynamical scales typically assumed in instability calculations.

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