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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The effects of turbulence in an absorbing atmosphere on the propagation of microwave signals used in an active sounding system
by Otarola, Angel Custodio, Ph.D., The University of Arizona, 2008, 135; 3336701
Abstract (Summary)

Proper and precise interpretation of radio occultation soundings of planetary atmospheres requires understanding the signal amplitude and phase variations caused by random perturbations in the complex index of refraction caused by atmospheric turbulence. This research focuses on understanding the turbulence and its impact on these soundings.

From aircraft temperature, pressure and humidity measurements we obtained a parametric model for estimating the strength of the atmospheric turbulence in the troposphere. We used high-resolution balloon measurements to understand the spatial spectrum of turbulence in the vertical dimension.

We also review and extend electromagnetic scintillation theory to include a complex index of refraction of the propagating medium. In contrast to when the fluctuations in only the real component of the index of refraction are considered, this work quantifies how atmospheric turbulent eddies contribute to the signal amplitude and phase fluctuations and the amplitude frequency correlation function when the index of refraction is complex. The generalized expressions developed for determining the signal's amplitude and phase fluctuations can be solved for planar, spherical or beam electromagnetic wave propagation.

We then apply our mathematical model to the case of a plane wave propagating through a homogenous turbulence medium and estimate the amplitude variance for signals at various frequencies near the 22 GHz and 183 GHz water vapor absorption features. The theoretical results predict the impact of random fluctuations in the absorption coefficient along the signal propagation path on the signal's amplitude fluctuations. These results indicate that amplitude fluctuations arising from perturbations of the absorption field can be comparable to those when the medium has a purely real index of refraction. This clearly indicates that the differential optical depth approach devised by Kursinski et al. (2002) to ratio out the effects of turbulence on signals passing through a medium of a purely real index of refraction must be modified to include the effects of turbulent variations in the imaginary part of the refractivity.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Kursinski, Emil R.
Commitee: Herman, Benjamin, Krider, E. P., Zeng, Xubin
School: The University of Arizona
Department: Atmospheric Sciences
School Location: United States -- Arizona
Source: DAI-B 69/11, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Atmospheric sciences
Keywords: Absorption, Active sounding, Amplitude fluctuations, Atmosphere, Microwave signals, Phase fluctuations, Radio occultation, Turbulence
Publication Number: 3336701
ISBN: 978-0-549-90427-4
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