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Journal of the Optical Society of America

Journal of the Optical Society of America

  • Vol. 73, Iss. 12 — Dec. 1, 1983
  • pp: 1622–1625

Inversion of superior mirage data to compute temperature profiles

Waldemar H. Lehn  »View Author Affiliations

JOSA, Vol. 73, Issue 12, pp. 1622-1625 (1983)

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Information derived from the superior mirage is used to compute the average vertical temperature profile in the atmosphere between the observer and a known object. The image is described by a plot of ray-elevation angle at the eye against elevation at which that ray intersects the object. The computational algorithm, based on the tracing of rays that have at most one vertex, iteratively adjusts the temperature profile until the observed image characteristics are reproduced. An example based on an observation made on the Beaufort Sea illustrates the process.

© 1983 Optical Society of America

Waldemar H. Lehn, "Inversion of superior mirage data to compute temperature profiles," J. Opt. Soc. Am. 73, 1622-1625 (1983)

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  1. J. M. Pernter and F. Exner, Meteorologische Optik, 2nd ed. (Braumüller, Vienna, 1922).
  2. A. B. Fraser, "Solutions of the refraction and extinction integrals for use in inversions and image formation," Appl. Opt. 16, 160–165 (1977).
  3. W. H. Lehn and H. L. Sawatzky, "Image transmission under arctic mirage conditions," Polarforschung 45, 120–128 (1975).
  4. W. H. Lehn and M. B. El-Arini, "Computer-graphics analysis of atmospheric refraction," Appl. Opt. 17, 3146–3151 (1978).
  5. An extensive list of references to research before 1935 can be found in W. -E. Schiele, "Zur Theorie der Luftspiegelungen," Veroeff. Geophys. Inst. Univ. Leipzig 7, 103–188 (1935).
  6. R. G. Fleagle, "The temperature distribution near a cold surface," J. Meteorol. 13, 160–165 (1956).
  7. A. B. Fraser, "Simple solution for obtaining a temperature profile from the inferior mirage," Appl. Opt. 18, 1724–1731 (1979).
  8. W. H. Mach, "Measurement of micrometeorological temperature profiles by the inversion of optical data," Ph.D. Thesis (Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pa., 1978).
  9. W. H. Mach and A. B. Fraser, "Inversion of optical data to obtain a micrometeorological temperature profile," Appl. Opt. 18, 1715–1723 (1979).
  10. R. Meyer, "Die Entstehung optischer Bilder durch Brechung und Spiegelung in der Atmosphare," Meteorol. Z. 52, 405–408 (1935).
  11. In this context the concept of range is not absolute; it is linked to the nature of the image. Images of the requisite type may occur at object distances over 20 km, if the inversion has its steepest gradient 30 m above the observer's eye, or at 1 km for inversions less than 1 m above the observer.
  12. The U.S. Standard Atmosphere is tabulated in Ref. 14. In the boundary layer, this atmosphere has a temperature gradient of -6.5 K/km.
  13. W. H. Lehn and B. A. German, "Novaya zemlya effect: analysis of an observation," Appl. Opt. 20, 2043–2047 (1981).
  14. R. G. Fleagle and J. A. Businger, An Introduction to Atmospheric Physics, 2nd ed. (Academic, New York, 1980).

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