Tropospheric Propagation Assessment
NAVAL OCEAN SYSTEMS CENTER SAN DIEGO CA
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It is well known that microwave propagation in a marine environment frequently exhibits unexpected behavior. The deviation from 43 earth propagation calculations is due to the fact that the vertical refractivity distribution of the troposphere rarely follows the standard lapse rate of -39 Nkm. Instead, the troposphere is generally compound of horizontally stratified layers of differing refractivity gradients. The most striking propagation anomalies result when a layer gradient is less than -157 Nkm, forming a trapping layer. In the marine environment, there are two mechanisms which produce such layers. An elevated trapping layer is created by the advection of a warm, dry air mass over a cold, moist air mass producing either a surface-based or an elevated duct which may affect frequencies as low as 100 MHz. A very persistent surface trapping layer is due to water evaporation at the air-sea interface. This surface, or evaporation, duct is generally thin, on the order of 10 m in vertical extent, and is an effective trapping mechanism for frequencies greater than 3 GHz. With the introduction of the Integrated Refractive Effects Prediction System IREPS into the US Navy, fleet units now have the capability to evaluate accurately the performance of their EM systems when the refractive environment is known. However, these units may have to plan for operations thousands of miles away under different refractivity conditions. To assist in planning, a worldwide upper air and surface climatology has been developed for use through the IREPS programs. The IREPS concept is reviewed and a description of the tropospheric ducting data base is presented.
- Radiofrequency Wave Propagation