The energy flux spectrum of internal waves generated by turbulent convection

Louis Alexandre Couston*, Daniel Lecoanet, Benjamin Favier, Michael Le Bars

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


We present three-dimensional direct numerical simulations of internal waves excited by turbulent convection in a self-consistent, Boussinesq and Cartesian model of mixed convective and stably stratified fluids. We demonstrate that in the limit of large Rayleigh number and large stratification (Brunt-Väisälä frequencies , where is the convective frequency), simulations are in good agreement with a theory that assumes waves are generated by Reynolds stresses due to eddies in the turbulent region as described in Lecoanet & Quataert (Mon. Not. R. Astron. Soc., vol. 430 (3), 2013, pp. 2363-2376). Specifically, we demonstrate that the wave energy flux spectrum scales like for weakly damped waves (with and the waves' horizontal wavenumbers and frequencies, respectively), and that the total wave energy flux decays with , the distance from the convective region, like .

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)R3
JournalJournal of fluid Mechanics
StatePublished - Nov 10 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • geophysical and geological flows
  • internal waves
  • turbulent convection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering

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