Knowledge of turbulence distribution along an experimental path can help in effective turbulence compensation and mitigation. Although scintillometers are traditionally used to measure the strength of turbulence, they provide a path-integrated measurement and have limited operational ranges. A technique to profile turbulence using time-lapse imagery of a distant target from spatially separated cameras is presented here. The method uses the turbulence induced differential motion between pairs of point features on a target, sensed at a single camera and between cameras to extract turbulence distribution along the path. The method is successfully demonstrated on a 511 m almost horizontal path going over half concrete and half grass. An array of Light-Emitting Diodes (LEDs) of non-uniform separation is imaged by a pair of cameras, and the extracted turbulence profiles are validated against measurements from 3D sonic anemometers placed along the path. A short-range experiment with a heat source to create local turbulence spike gives good results as well. Because the method is phase-based, it does not suffer from saturation issues and can potentially be applied over long ranges. Although in the present work, a cooperative target has been used, the technique can be used with non-cooperative targets. Application of the technique to images collected over slant paths with elevated targets can aid in understanding the altitude dependence of turbulence in the surface layer.
Wilson, B.; Bose-Pillai, S.; McCrae, J.; Keefer, K.; Fiorino, S. Estimating Turbulence Distribution over a Heterogeneous Path Using Time-Lapse Imagery from Dual Cameras. Appl. Sci. 2021, 11, 6221. https://doi.org/10.3390/app11136221