On hydrodynamic shear turbulence in Keplerian disks: Via transient growth to bypass transition
Center for Plasma Astrophysics, Abastumani Astrophysical Observatory, Kazbegi 2a, 380060 Tbilisi, Georgia e-mail: email@example.com
2 LUTH, Observatoire de Paris, 92190 Meudon, France e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Corresponding author: J.-P. Zahn, email@example.com
Accepted: 6 February 2003
This paper deals with the problem of hydrodynamic shear turbulence in non-magnetized Keplerian disks. Several papers have appeared recently on the subject, on possible linear instabilities which may be due to the presence of a stable stratification, or caused by deviations from cylindrical rotation. Here we wish to draw attention to another route to hydrodynamic turbulence, which seems to be little known by the astrophysical community, but which has been intensively discussed among fluid dynamicists during the past decade. In this so-called bypass concept for the onset of turbulence, perturbations undergo transient growth and if they have initially a finite amplitude they may reach an amplitude that is sufficiently large to allow positive feedback through nonlinear interactions. This transient growth is linear in nature, and thus it differs in principle from the well-known nonlinear instability. We describe the type of perturbations that according to this process are the most likely to lead to turbulence, namely non-axisymmetric vortex mode perturbations in the two dimensional limit. We show that the apparently inhibiting action of the Coriolis force on the dynamics of such vortical perturbations is substantially diminished due to the pressure perturbations, contrary to current opinion. We stress the similarity of the turbulent processes in Keplerian disks and in Cartesian flows and conclude that the prevalent skepticism of the astrophysical community about the occurrence of hydrodynamic shear turbulence in such disks is not founded.
Key words: accretion, accretion disks / hydrodynamics / instabilities / turbulence
© ESO, 2003