Investigation of the height dependency of optical turbulence in the surface layer over False Bay (South Africa)
Atmospheric turbulence impacts on the propagation of electro-optical radiation. Typical manifestations of optical turbulence are scintillation (intensity fluctuations), beam wander and (for laser systems) reduction of beam quality. For longer propagation channels, it is important to characterize the vertical and horizontal distribution (inhomogeneity) of the optical turbulence. In the framework of the First European South African Transmission ExpeRiment (FESTER) optical turbulence was measured between June 2015 and February 2016 over a 1.8 km over-water link over False Bay. The link ran from the Institute of Maritime Technology (IMT) at Simons Town to the lighthouse at Roman Rock Island. Three Boundary layer scintillometers (BLS900) allowed assessing the vertical distribution of optical turbulence at three different heights between 5 and 12 m above the water surface. The expected decrease with Cn2 with height is not always found. These results are analyzed in terms of the meteorological scenario, and a comparison is made with a fourth optical link providing optical turbulence data over a 8.69 km path from IMT to St. James, roughly perpendicular to the three 1.8 km paths.