Generalized atmospheric turbulence: Implications regarding imaging and communications

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

22 Scopus citations


At present, system design usually assumes the Kolmogorov model of refractive index fluctuation spectra in the atmosphere. However, experimental data indicates that in the atmospheric boundary layer and at higher altitudes the turbulence can be different from Kolmogorov's type. In optical communications, analytical models of mean irradiance and scintillation index have been developed for a traditional Kolmogorov spectrum and must be revised for non-Kolmogorov turbulence. The image quality (resolution, MTF, etc.) is essentially dependent on the properties of turbulent media. Turbulence MTF must be generalized to include non-Kolmogorov statistics. The change in fluctuation correlations of the refractive index can lead to a considerable change in both the MTF form and the resolution value. In this work, on the basis of experimental observations and modeling, generalized atmospheric turbulence statistics including both Kolmogorov and non-Kolmogorov path components are discussed, and their influence on imaging and communications through the atmosphere estimated for different scenarios of vertical and slant-path propagation. The atmospheric model of an arbitrary (non-Kolmogorov) spectrum is applied to estimate the statistical quantities associated with optical communication links (e.g., scintillation and fading statistics) and imaging systems. Implications can be significant for optical communication, imaging through the atmosphere, and remote sensing.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAtmospheric and Oceanic Propagation of Electromagnetic Waves IV
StatePublished - 6 May 2010
EventAtmospheric and Oceanic Propagation of Electromagnetic Waves IV - San Francisco, CA, United States
Duration: 25 Jan 201026 Jan 2010

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X


ConferenceAtmospheric and Oceanic Propagation of Electromagnetic Waves IV
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Francisco, CA


  • Atmospheric turbulence
  • Image quality
  • Optical communications
  • Turbulence spectrum

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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