Section: Research Program

Astrophysical and Environmental flows

Participants : Didier Auroux, Hervé Guillard, Boniface Nkonga, Sebastian Minjeaud.

Although it seems inappropriate to address the modeling of experimental devices of the size of a tokamak and for instance, astrophysical systems with the same mathematical and numerical tools, it has long been recognized that the behaviour of these systems have a profound unity. This has for consequence for instance that any large conference on plasma physics includes sessions on astrophysical plasmas as well as sessions on laboratory plasmas. Castor  does not intend to consider fluid models coming from Astrophysics or Environmental flows for themselves. However, the team is interested in the numerical approximation of some problems in this area as they provide interesting reduced models for more complex phenomena. To be more precise, let us give some concrete examples : The development of Rossby waves (Rossby waves are giant meanders in high altitude wind that have major influence on weather. Oceanic Rossby waves are also know to exist and to affect the world ocean circulation) a common problem in weather prediction has a counterpart in the development of magnetic shear induced instabilities in tokamaks and the understanding of this latter type of instabilities has been largely improved by the Rossby wave model. A second example is the water bag model of plasma physics that has a lot in common with multi-layer shallow water system.

To give a last example, we can stress that the development of the so-called well-balanced finite volume schemes used nowadays in many domains of mathematical physics or engineering was largely motivated by the desire to suppress some problems appearing in the approximation of the shallow water system.

Our goal is therefore to use astrophysical or geophysical models to investigate some numerical questions in contexts that, in contrast with plasma physics or fluid turbulence, do not require huge three dimensional computations but are still of interest for themselves and not only as toy models.