On the accuracy of simulations of turbulence

Wan, M.; Oughton, S.; Servidio, S.; Matthaeus, W. H.
August 2010
Physics of Plasmas;Aug2010, Vol. 17 Issue 8, p082308
Academic Journal
The widely recognized issue of adequate spatial resolution in numerical simulations of turbulence is studied in the context of two-dimensional magnetohydrodynamics. The familiar criterion that the dissipation scale should be resolved enables accurate computation of the spectrum, but fails for precise determination of higher-order statistical quantities. Examination of two straightforward diagnostics, the maximum of the kurtosis and the scale-dependent kurtosis, enables the development of simple tests for assessing adequacy of spatial resolution. The efficacy of the tests is confirmed by examining a sample problem, the distribution of magnetic reconnection rates in turbulence. Oversampling the Kolmogorov dissipation scale by a factor of 3 allows accurate computation of the kurtosis, the scale-dependent kurtosis, and the reconnection rates. These tests may provide useful guidance for resolution requirements in many plasma computations involving turbulence and reconnection.


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