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The Proper Orthogonal Decomposition, wavelets and modal approaches to the dynamics of coherent structures


We present brief précis of three related investigations. Fuller accounts can be found elsewhere. The investigations bear on the identification and prediction of coherent structures in turbulent shear flows. A second unifying thread is the Proper Orthogonal Decomposition (POD), or Karhunen-Loève expansion, which appears in all three investigations described. The first investigation demonstrates a close connection between the coherent structures obtained using linear stochastic estimation, and those obtained from the POD. Linear stochastic estimation is often used for the identification of coherent structures. The second investigation explores the use (in homogeneous directions) of wavelets instead of Fourier modes, in the construction of dynamical models; the particular problem considered here is the Kuramoto-Sivashinsky equation. The POD eigenfunctions, of course, reduce to Fourier modes in homogeneous situations, and either can be shown to converge optimally fast; we address the question of how rapidly (by comparison) a wavelet representation converges, and how the wavelet-wavelet interactions can be handled to construct a simple model. The third investigation deals with the prediction of POD eigenfunctions in a turbulent shear flow. We show that energy-method stability theory, combined with an anisotropic eddy viscosity, and erosion of the mean velocity profile by the growing eigenfunctions, produces eigenfunctions very close to those of the POD, and the same eigenvalue spectrum at low wavenumbers.