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We show that the phase space of stratified turbulence mainly consists of two slow invariant manifolds with rich physics, embedded on a larger basin with fast evolution. A local invariant manifold in the vicinity of the fluid at equilibrium corresponds to waves, while a global invariant manifold corresponds to the onset of local convection. Using a reduced model derived from the Boussinesq equations, we propose that waves accumulate energy nonlinearly up to a point such that fluid elementsarXiv:1912.03160v1 fatcat:scclbndwezc7berxuqmvkwmn4a