Effects of Atmospheric Turbulence on Optical Propagation,
D-PEEK INC BOULDER CO
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The optical refractive index of the atmosphere depends on temperature, pressure, and humidity. Naturally occurring variations of these quantities, with scales of a few centimeters and associated with atmospheric turbulence, cause optical scintillation, image distortion, and laser beam broadening. I review the meteorological conditions that influence the occurrence of this optical turbulence, discuss the optical significance of turbulence at various heights in the atmosphere, and point out the differences between these optical effects and the corresponding phenomena at radio wavelengths. While beam broadening increases indefinitely with the strength of optical turbulence, scintillation saturates and eventually decreases with increasing turbulence.