## Abstract

The lognormal (LN) and gamma–gamma (GG) distributions are compared to simulated and experimental data of the irradiance fluctuations of a Gaussian beam wave propagating through the atmosphere along a horizontal path, near the ground, in the moderate-to-strong turbulence regime. Irradiance data were collected simultaneously at three receiving apertures of different sizes. Atmospheric parameters were inferred from the measurements and scintillation theory and were used to develop the parameters for the theoretical probability density functions. Numerical simulations were produced with the same ${C}_{n}^{2}$ value as the experimental data. Aperture-averaging effects were investigated by comparing the irradiance distributions for the three apertures at two different values of the structure parameter ${C}_{n}^{2}$, and, hence, different values of the coherence radius ${\rho}_{0}$. For the moderate-to-strong fluctuation regime, the GG distribution provides a good fit to the irradiance fluctuations collected by finite-sized apertures that are significantly smaller than ${\rho}_{0}$. For apertures larger than or equal to ${\rho}_{0}$, the irradiance fluctuations appear to be LN distributed.

© 2007 Optical Society of America

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