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Optical turbulence, as determined by the widely accepted practice of profiling the temperature structure constant, C2T, via the measurement of ambient atmospheric temperature gradients, can be found to differ quite significantly when characterizing such gradients via thermal-couple differential temperature sensors as compared to doing so with acoustic probes such as those commonly used in sonic anemometry. Similar inconsistencies are observed when comparing optical turbulence strength derived via C2T as compared to those through direct optical or imaging measurements of small fluctuations of the index of refraction of air (i.e., scintillation). These irregularities are especially apparent in stable atmospheric layers and during diurnal quiescent periods. Our research demonstrates that when care is taken to properly remove large-scale index of refraction gradients, the sonic anemometer-derived velocity structure constant, C2v, coupled with the similarly derived turbulence-driven index of refraction and vertical wind shear gradients, provides a refractive index structure constant, C2n, that can more closely match the optical turbulence strengths inferred by more direct means such as scintillometers or differential image motion techniques. The research also illustrates the utility and robustness of quantifying Cn2 from C2T at a point using a single sonic anemometer and establishes a clear set of equations to calculate volumetric C2n data using instrumentation that measures wind velocities with more spatial/temporal fidelity than temperature.


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Applied Sciences

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Optics Commons