Recent studies have used the superposition principle (extended Huygens-Fresnel principle) to characterize completely the statistics of a field that has propagated through a thick slab of turbulent air in terms of the statistics for spherical-wave sources. In this paper, we consider the normal-mode decomposition associated with this linear system propagation model. In particular, we use the statistics of the atmospheric impulse response (Green’s function) to show that the atmospheric mode decomposition exhibits far-field and near-field regimes very similar to those of free-space propagation. The significance of these results for optical communication through the atmosphere is briefly discussed.
Jeffrey H. Shapiro, "Normal-Mode Approach to Wave Propagation in the Turbulent Atmosphere," Appl. Opt. 13, 2614-2619 (1974)