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Proceedings Paper

Comparison of atmospheric refraction at radar and optical wavelengths
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Paper Abstract

A study is carried out to classify possible combinations of refractivity conditions for RF and IR over a wide range of meteorological conditions using different micrometeorological bulk models. The calculated refractivity profiles are analyzed for evaporation duct height (EDH), mainly relevant for RF propagation, and for gradients of the modified refractivity at different heights, relevant for both RF and IR propagation. These refractivity gradients are a direct indicator for the occurrence of sub- or super refraction at the height of interest. The present study reveals that under humid and unstable conditions evaporation ducts are found at approximately 3±2 m above cold (5°C) waters and at approximately 8±5 m over warm waters (25°C). Under dry conditions, these duct heights are approximately 9±5 m and 20±10 m, respectively. Duct heights decrease with increasing wind speed. Under humid and near-neutral conditions, duct heights range from 1 to 25 m, and decrease with increasing air temperature and/or wind speed. On the other hand, for dry and near-neutral conditions, and also for neutral conditions, the duct height is not well defined. Values between 1 m and 100 m are found, with an irregular dependence on air temperature and wind speed. Reliable modeling of duct height under these conditions remains questionable due to a lack of vertical mixing in the surface layer. The paper also shows that all four combinations of RF and IR sub- and super-refraction can occur in the atmosphere. The occurrence of a specific combination depends predominantly on temperature and humidity, and to a relatively minor part on wind speed. The magnitude of refraction effects in the two spectral bands is not necessarily coupled but varies with environmental conditions and height. Sub-sub refraction is generally weak and occurs under neutral conditions or at large heights. Super-super refraction occurs under warm and dry conditions and can reach medium strengths. RF-super refraction in combination with IR-sub refraction occurs under strong unstable conditions (e.g., surface temperature higher than air temperature) and can reach medium strengths. RF-sub refraction in combination with IR-super refraction occurs under stable and warm conditions. The magnitude of refraction can be very large, especially at low altitude.

Paper Details

Date Published: 14 October 2005
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 5981, Optics in Atmospheric Propagation and Adaptive Systems VIII, 59810B (14 October 2005); doi: 10.1117/12.638613
Show Author Affiliations
Gerard Kunz, TNO Defence, Security and Safety (Netherlands)
Eric Heemskerk, TNO Defence, Security and Safety (Netherlands)
Lex van Eijk, TNO Defence, Security and Safety (Netherlands)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 5981:
Optics in Atmospheric Propagation and Adaptive Systems VIII
Karin Stein; Anton Kohnle, Editor(s)

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