Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Department of Engineering Physics

First Advisor

Cecilia A. Miner, PhD


A key issue to the USAF's Airborne Laser (ABL) program is the ability to accurately predict the level of optical turbulence that the ABL will encounter at its flight levels. The optical turbulence must be characterized so that the range and range variation of the ABL can be determined. Gravity wave spectra resulting from frontal or jet stream passage are presumed to cause layers of optical turbulence; however, exact relationships between optical turbulence and synoptic scale meteorological phenomena are unclear. This study assesses the statistical relationship between optical turbulence and synoptic scale variables through multiple linear regression. The optical turbulence measurements were observed by the 50 MHz radar at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico from January 1993 to January 1994. Measurements were averaged temporally and vertically to coincide with weather data. The synoptic scale meteorological data was extracted from the NCEP/NCAR reanalysis database. Results from the regression models showed that a linear relationship exists between optical turbulence and major synoptic scale variables; however, this relationship was a weak one. It was concluded that further research was needed to define the exact relationship between synoptic scale meteorological variables and optical turbulence.

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DTIC Accession Number