The effects of scintillation on an optical data channel are analyzed and numerical results presented. Scintillation with a log normal distribution typical of atmospheric optical effects is assumed. The analysis is concerned with the target miss probability of a laser radar and the bit error probability of an optical binary communications link. Results are expressed in terms of a loss factor which is the extra number of dB signal-to-noise ratio necessary to keep the performance in the presence of scintillation up to the level achievable in the absence of scintillation. With even moderately weak scintillation large loss factors are encountered. A brief treatment of the effects of normally distributed scintillation is also presented.
D. L. Fried and R. A. Schmeltzer, "The Effect of Atmospheric Scintillation on an Optical Data Channel—Laser Radar and Binary Communications," Appl. Opt. 6, 1729-1737 (1967)