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IUTAM Symposium 2012:
"Understanding Common Aspects of Extreme Events in Fluids"

University College Dublin, Ireland

Monday, July 2nd - Friday, July 6th 2012

A diverse variety of fluid systems are characterised by extreme events that are localised in space and time and are often associated with intense energy exchanges that dramatically alter their global behaviour.

For example, in the atmosphere, extreme events include cyclones, perfect storms and mountain winds and can directly disrupt agriculture, transportation and industry. In the oceans, the so-called rogue waves are sudden, high-amplitude waves that can even destroy large ships but whose nature is not fully understood. And in the interplanetary medium between the Earth and the Sun, magnetic storms of highly energetic, ionized particles can disable communications satellites.

Extreme events can also dominate aspects of the fine-scale dynamics of the underlying equations of classical turbulence, quantum fluids, and magnetohydrodynamics. It has been shown that the carrying fields (vorticity, wave function and magnetic induction) first develop anomalous values that are localised in sheets and tubes, then become subject to intense reconnection events. Reconnection is usually associated with the release of energy, but numerical results show that around the instant of reconnection very little energy is directly released. We would like to know whether these events are directly associated with cascades of energy, dissipation or the release of material, or are they simply a signature of more fundamental underlying dynamics?

Due to the local spatio-temporal nature of extreme events in fluid systems, one can divide their progression into the following phases: genesis, development, maturity or developed phase, and decay. During the developed phase, the statistical description appears to be independent of the original mechanisms that generate these events. The same could be said, to some extent, about the geometry and other features of the developed structures. With this insight, it seems possible that by understanding extreme events and the dynamics of their equations better, we could improve our ability to make advances in global weather predictions down to the scale of 50 kilometres, noise from turbojet engines, fusion reactors and space weather. All of which continue to be just outside our reach even though many should be accessible with current computing architectures if the old paradigms held.

This Symposium aims at forming a multi-disciplinary discussion platform, where world-leading experts can share their views and first-hand experience on the research questions that are universal to all physical systems that feature extreme events. Some of these questions are:

  1. How to detect and classify observationally the signature of extreme events?
  2. How to resolve and validate numerical simulations of extreme events?
  3. How to approximate or model extreme events using mathematical and geometrical methods, and how to justify these models rigorously?

By focusing on the above common points, this Symposium should be beneficial to a wide spectrum of research areas and it could open new venues for creative top-class multi-disciplinary collaboration, based on the transfer of knowledge between disciplines.

Sample of Topics on Extreme Events
to be Covered in this Symposium

1) Atmospheric dynamics (e.g., fronts, jets and cyclonic storms)
2) Oceans (e.g., rogue waves)
3) Euler and Navier-Stokes classical turbulence (e.g., near-singular behaviour)
4) Magneto-Hydrodynamics (e.g., magnetic reconnection)
5) Superfluid quantum vortices (e.g., change of topology of vortex tangles)
6) Optics (e.g., rogue solitons)
Key Dates

500-word abstract due:
 21 May 2012

Reduced registration fees before: 3 June 2012

Abstract acceptance confirmation: 11 June 2012

Manuscript hand-in: TBA.

Symposium: 2-6 July 2012