We address the mechanisms underlying low-frequency zonal flow generation in a turbulent system through the parametric decay of collisionless trapped particle modes and its feedback on the stabilization of the system. This model is in connection with the observation of barrier transport in reduced gyrokinetic simulations (A. Ghizzo et al., Euro. Phys. Lett. 119(1), 15003 (2017)). Here the analysis is extended with a detailed description of the resonant mechanism. A key role is also played by an initial polarisation source that allows the emergence of strong initial shear flow. The parametric decay leads to the growth of a zonal flow which differs from the standard zero frequency zonal flow usually triggered by the Reynolds stress in fluid drift-wave turbulence. The resulting zonal flow can oscillate at low frequency close to the ion precession frequency, making it sensitive to strong amplification by resonant kinetic processes. The system becomes then intermittent. These new findings, obtained from numerical experiments based on reduced semi-Lagrangian gyrokinetic simulations, shed light on the underlying physics coming from resonant wave-particle interactions for the formation of transport barriers. Numerical simulations are based on a Hamiltonian reduction technique, including magnetic curvature and interchange turbulence, where both fastest scales (cyclotron and bounce motions) are gyro-averaged.
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