We consider an optical beam propagated through the atmosphere and incident on an object causing a temperature rise. In clear air, the physical characteristics of the optical beam transmitted to the object surface are influenced primarily by the effect of atmospheric turbulence, which can be significant near the ground or ocean surface. We use a statistical model to quantify the expected power transfer through turbulent atmosphere and provide guidance toward the threshold of thermal blooming for the considered scenarios. The bulk thermal characteristics of the materials considered are used in a thermal diffusion model to determine the net temperature rise at the object surface due to the incident optical beam. These results of the study are presented in graphical form and are of particular interest to operators of high power laser systems operating over large distances through the atmosphere. Numerical examples include a CO 2 laser (λ=10.6 μm ) with: aperture size of 5 cm, varied pulse duration, and propagation distance of 0.5 km incident on 0.1-mm copper, 10-mm polyimide, 1-mm water, and 10-mm glass/resin composite targets. To assess the effect of near ground/ocean laser propagation, we compare turbulent (of varying degrees) and nonturbulent atmosphere.