Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Department of Engineering Physics

First Advisor

Steven T. Fiorino, PhD.


This thesis investigated a new method for measuring the intensity of turbulence in the planetary boundary layer that shows a high correlation with measurements from weather radar. The method takes measurements of cell phone signal strength and uses scintillation in the signal to estimate the strength of local turbulence. Using cell phone signals provides unique measurement advantages: it is a passive measurement method, it is not strongly affected by precipitation, and one device can potentially measure several paths at once. The measurements were taken using an Android® cell phone running a custom built application. The strength of turbulence was quantified using the index of refraction structure constant, C2n, which is related to the amount of energy in the turbulence. The goal of the investigation was to determine if C2n values calculated from the cell phone signal power show a relationship to C2n measurements taken using clear air radar returns over the communication path. Based on the strength of the agreement between measurements made by the new method and those made with an established method, it is concluded that turbulence changes can be measured using cell phone signals.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number


Included in

Meteorology Commons