Abstract

A quantitative model of the inferior mirage is presented, based on a realistic temperature profile in the convective boundary layer, using Monin–Obukhov similarity theory. The top of the inverted image is determined by the logarithmic part of the profile; the bottom is the apparent horizon, which depends on optical obstruction by roughness elements. These effects of surface roughness are included in the model, which is illustrated with a simulation. The vertical magnification varies throughout the mirage, becoming infinite at Minnaert’s ill-named “vanishing line”—which makes green flashes apparent to the naked eye.

© 2015 Optical Society of America

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