The Department of Fluid Physics, Pattern Formation, and Biocomplexity at the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization is studying the turbulent processes governing the distribution of cloud droplets in space and their collision rates. The goal is to better understand the physical processes and complex interactions that are involved in creating raindrops.
Dynamics are difficult to capture because they occur on a wide range of scales, which is the nature of high Reynolds number turbulence. At present, the full dynamics are impossible to capture in the laboratory or by direct numerical simulation. Yet it is also impossible to make field measurements with adequate resolution, or to control the conditions in a systematic way. For this reason, we complement our laboratory experimental expertise with the field experience and the numerical investigations of our collaborators. We are developing techniques to obtain particle tracks in high Reynolds number turbulence. These new ultrafast particle tracking methods allow us to make accurate measurements of Lagrangian statistics, which are of great importance both to practical questions of turbulent transport and to fundamental questions about the existence of a universal description of turbulence.
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