Dual constant-flux energy cascades to both large scales and small scales
In this paper, we present an overview of concepts and data concerning inverse cascades of excitation towards scales larger than the forcing scale in a variety of contexts, from two-dimensional fluids and wave turbulence to geophysical flows in the presence of rotation and stratification. We briefly discuss the role of anisotropy in the occurrence and properties of such cascades. We then show that the cascade of some invariant, for example, the total energy, may be transferred through nonlinear interactions to both the small scales and the large scales, with in each case a constant flux. This is in contrast to the classical picture, and we illustrate such a dual cascade in the context of atmospheric and oceanic observations, direct numerical simulations, and modeling. We also show that this dual cascade of total energy can in fact be decomposed in some cases into separate cascades of the kinetic and potential energies, provided the Froude and Rossby numbers are small enough. In all cases, the potential energy flux remains small, of the order of 10% or less relative to the kinetic energy flux. Finally, we demonstrate that, in the small-scale inertial range, approximate equipartition between potential and kinetic modes is obtained, leading to an energy ratio close to one, with strong departure at large scales due to the dominant kinetic energy inverse cascade and piling-up at the lowest spatial frequency and at small scales due to unbalanced dissipation processes, even though the Prandtl number is equal to one.