Terrestrial refraction

From Glossary of Meteorology



terrestrial refraction

A variety of phenomena that results from the refraction of electromagnetic waves (including visible light) by Earth's atmospheric layers of various density along the line of sight to a terrestrial object, distorting the shape or changing the apparent location of the terrestrial object from the perspective of an observer. It is distinguished from astronomical refraction, which is used when the source of the refracted light is outside the terrestrial atmosphere.

Term edited 15 March 2019.


Copyright 2022 American Meteorological Society (AMS). For permission to reuse any portion of this work, please contact permissions@ametsoc.org. Any use of material in this work that is determined to be “fair use” under Section 107 of the U.S. Copyright Act (17 U.S. Code § 107) or that satisfies the conditions specified in Section 108 of the U.S.Copyright Act (17 USC § 108) does not require AMS’s permission. Republication, systematic reproduction, posting in electronic form, such as on a website or in a searchable database, or other uses of this material, except as exempted by the above statement, require written permission or a license from AMS. Additional details are provided in the AMS Copyright Policy statement.