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1 September 2006 Measurements and modeling of optical turbulence in a maritime environment
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Turbulence can be a dominant factor in image and laser beam degradation for optical systems operating in the near-surface maritime environment. A long-term propagation field experiment was conducted at Zuniga Shoal (near San Diego) to study the impact of environmental conditions on low-altitude laser propagation above the ocean surface. Test periods of one month duration were conducted at various points of the year, during which scintillometer measurements were obtained along a 7.2 km over-water path and a 'flux' research buoy deployed along the propagation path collected concurrent mean meteorological, atmospheric turbulence, and wave data. We use the refractive index structure parameter (Cn2) as the critical parameter for quantifying the effects of atmospheric turbulence on laser system performance, including received power fluctuations, beam spread and beam wander. Bulk estimates of Cn2 were derived from the buoy mean meteorological measurements using the Navy Surface Layer Optical Turbulence (NSLOT) model. Cn2 was also determined from atmospheric turbulence measurements obtained from a sonic anemometer on the buoy. These independent Cn2 values derived from the buoy data are compared with Cn2 values computed from the infrared propagation measurements to determine how the NSLOT model performs under different environmental conditions. In addition, the optical measurements and bulk estimates of Cn2 are used to study the effects of the atmospheric turbulence on operational optical systems.
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Paul A. Frederickson, Stephen Hammel, and Dimitris Tsintikidis "Measurements and modeling of optical turbulence in a maritime environment", Proc. SPIE 6303, Atmospheric Optical Modeling, Measurement, and Simulation II, 630307 (1 September 2006);

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