This letter provides a theoretical interpretation of numerically generated probability density functions (PDFs) of intermittent plasma transport events. Specifically, nonlinear gyrokinetic simulations of ion-temperature-gradient turbulence produce the time series of heat flux that manifestly exhibit non-Gaussian PDFs with enhanced tails. It is demonstrated that, after the removal of autocorrelations, the numerical PDFs can be matched with predictions from a fluid theoretical setup based on the instanton method. This result points to a universality in the modeling of intermittent stochastic process offering a predictive capability.

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