Meteorology and Atmospheric Physics

, Volume 90, Issue 3, pp 159–164

Toward increasing the accuracy and realism of future optical turbulence calculations

  • A. Tunick

DOI: 10.1007/s00703-004-0091-x

Cite this article as:
Tunick, A. Meteorol. Atmos. Phys. (2005) 90: 159. doi:10.1007/s00703-004-0091-x


Due to the increased use of laser and ground-to-satellite communications the need for reliable optical turbulence information is growing. Optical turbulence information is important because it describes an atmospheric effect that can degrade the performance of electromagnetic systems and sensors, e.g., free-space optical communications and infrared imaging. However, analysis of selected past research indicates that there are some areas (i.e., data and models) in which optical turbulence information is lacking. For example, line-of-sight optical turbulence data coupled with atmospheric models in hilly terrain, coastal areas, and within cities are few in number or non-existent. In addition, the bulk of existing atmospheric computer models being used to provide estimates of optical turbulence are basically one-dimensional in nature and assume uniform turbulence conditions over large areas. As a result, current optical turbulence theory and models may be deficient and in error for inhomogeneous (nonuniform) turbulence conditions, such as those that occur in urban environments or environments with changing topography and energy budgets. While it is anticipated that theoretical advances in environmental physics (and like disciplines) will be a catalyst for much new work this area, in the interim, we suggest that some very practical computational research can be performed to extend existing low-atmospheric turbulence and micrometeorological calculations beyond current limitations.

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag/Wien 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. Tunick
    • 1
  1. 1.U.S. Army Research Laboratory, Computational and Information Sciences DirectorateAdelphiUSA

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