At present, system design usually assumes the Kolmogorov model of refractive index fluctuation spectra in the
atmosphere. However, experimental data indicates that in the atmospheric boundary layer and at higher altitudes the
turbulence can be different from Kolmogorov's type.
In optical communications, analytical models of mean irradiance and scintillation index have been developed for a
traditional Kolmogorov spectrum and must be revised for non-Kolmogorov turbulence.
The image quality (resolution, MTF, etc.) is essentially dependent on the properties of turbulent media. Turbulence MTF
must be generalized to include non-Kolmogorov statistics. The change in fluctuation correlations of the refractive index
can lead to a considerable change in both the MTF form and the resolution value.
In this work, on the basis of measurements and model calculations, the influence of non-Kolmogorov turbulence on
imaging and communications through the atmosphere is estimated for different scenarios of vertical and slant-path
propagation. The atmospheric model of an arbitrary (non-Kolmogorov) spectrum is applied to estimate the statistical
quantities associated with optical communication links (e.g., scintillation and fading statistics) and imaging system.
Implications can be significant for optical communication, imaging through the atmosphere, and remote sensing.