Inhomogeneity of optical turbulence 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 on a 2 km over-water link over False Bay. The link ran from the Institute of Maritime Technology (IMT) in 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 of Cn2 with height is not always found. These results are analyzed in terms of the meteorological scenarios, and a comparison is made with a fourth optical link providing optical turbulence data over a 8.7 km path from IMT to Kalk Bay, roughly 36° to the north of the three 2 km paths. The results are related to the inhomogeneous meteorological conditions over the Bay as assessed with the numerical weather prediction tool, the Weather Forecast and Research model WRF.