Investigation of the atmosphere above the sea regarding laser performance
Insight in the performance of laser systems as function of weather is relevant for both civilian and military applications. This paper focuses on a long-term experiment to characterize laser propagation conditions over a near-surface, across-water optical link over the outer Bay of Eckernförde in the German part of the Baltic Sea. Turbulence was characterized with a boundary layer scintillometer (BLS), and it is shown that saturation effects occurred over this long optical path. The turbulence is primary driven by thermal forces and correlates best with the air-sea temperature difference. Simulations exploiting numerical mesoscale weather prediction tools agree favorably with the observations. The effect of the environment on beam divergence and power-in-the-bucket is discussed.