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Mon, May 07, 2012

ANN's Daily Aero-Term (05.07.12): Anomalous Propagation

Aero-Terms!

Aero-Terms are designed to be a daily reminder of the terms, names, acronyms and explanations of the unique language that populates the aviation world. Aerospace, sport aviation, fixed wing, helo, you name it... it's all fair game.

Aero-Terms should serve as a quick but intriguing reminder of the terms you may use every day, or an introduction to an aspects of the Aero-World you may not yet be familiar with. ANN also encourages readers to go beyond the FMI link, and further research any intriguing terms.

Suggestions for future Aero-Terms are ALWAYS welcome, as are additions or discussion of the explanations given for each Aero-Term.

Anomalous Propagation

Non-standard atmospheric temperature or moisture gradients will cause all or part of the radar beam to propagate along a non-normal path. When non-standard index-of-refraction distributions prevail, "abnormal" or "anomalous" propagation occurs. When abnormal downward bending occurs, it is called "superrefraction." If the beam is refracted downward sufficiently, it will illuminate the ground and return signals to the radar from distances further than is normally associated with ground targets. The term "subrefraction" is applied when there is abnormal upward bending of the radar beam.

FMI: www.weather.gov

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