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Coherent Lagrangian Vortices in Turbulence

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NWW - Nonlinear water waves

Coherent vortices are the most important building blocks of complex flows, yet no universally accepted vortex definition has emerged in fluid dynamics yet. A reason is that most vortex definitions depend crucially on the frame of the observer who evaluates them, even though the significance of vortices arises from the frame-invariant material transport they induce. Recently, ideas from nonlinear dynamics and continuum mechanics have lead to new, objective notions of coherence in fluid dynamics. These reveal surprisingly coherent, previously undetected Lagrangian (i.e., material) vortices in turbulent flows. We survey these ideas and illustrate their efficacy on geophysical flow data.



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