Statistics of a passive scalar advected by a large-scale two-dimensional velocity field: Analytic solution

M. Chertkov, G. Falkovich, I. Kolokolov, V. Lebedev

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

140 Scopus citations


Steady statistics of a passive scalar advected by a random two-dimensional flow of an incompressible fluid is described in the range of scales between the correlation length of the flow and the diffusion scale. This corresponds to the so-called Batchelor regime where the velocity is replaced by its large-scale gradient. The probability distribution of the scalar in the locally comoving reference frame is expressed via the probability distribution of the line stretching rate. The description of line stretching can be reduced to a classical problem of the product of many random matrices with a unit determinant. We have found the change of variables that allows one to map the matrix problem onto a scalar one and to thereby prove the central limit theorem for the stretching rate statistics. The proof is valid for any finite correlation time of the velocity field. Whatever the statistics of the velocity field, the statistics of the passive scalar (averaged over time locally in space) is shown to approach Gaussian statistics with increase in the Péclet number Pe (the pumping-to-diffusion scale ratio). The first n<ln Pe simultaneous correlation functions are expressed via the flux of the square of the scalar and only one factor depending on the velocity field: the mean stretching rate, which can be calculated analytically in limiting cases. Non-Gaussian tails of the probability distributions at finite Pe are found to be exponential.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5609-5627
Number of pages19
JournalPhysical Review E
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1995
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Statistics and Probability
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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