Resulted from the narrow frequency interval, the nonlinear impairments are strongly related with the data correlation of the optical orthogonal frequency division (OFDM) symbol in coherent optical OFDM (CO-OFDM) system, which is very different from the traditional WDM optical communication systems. The concept of normalized accumulative correlation coefficient (NACC) is proposed to evaluate the data correlation of the OFDM symbol. The parameter $\phi$ is presented to describe the influence of the systematic physical configuration on the nonlinear impairments. The dependence of the nonlinear impairments on the data correlation is investigated and revealed analytically. Closed form expressions are presented to calculate the noise spectrum, total nonlinear noise energy and noise signal ratio (NSR) under the condition that $\phi \leq 0.2$, which is valid for most practical CO-OFDM system. The NSR is proportional to the NACC and $\phi ^2$. Simulation results are well consistent with analytical calculations when $\phi \leq 0.2$.
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