Abstract

Expressions for the variance and other probability moments of strongly fluctuating irradiance of light after propagation through turbulent atmosphere are developed from a high-frequency approximation of the solution of the scalar wave equation. These expressions imply a Rayleigh distribution of the irradiance in the limit of strong turbulence and/or long propagation paths. The theory provides a good fit to Gracheva and Gurvich’s data (corrected for a processing error) and to the more dispersed recent data of Gracheva. It is argued that existing evidence for a log-normal distribution cannot reject a Rayleigh distribution whereas the assumption of log-normal distribution has implications conflicting with theory and/or experiment.

© 1968 Optical Society of America

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Equations (25)

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