• atmospheric refractivity estimation;
  • parabolic wave equation;
  • variational adjoint approach;
  • regularization

[1] This paper puts forward possibilities of refractive index profile retrieval using field measurements at an array of radio receivers in terms of variational adjoint approach. The derivation of the adjoint model begins with the parabolic wave equation for a smooth, perfectly conducting surface and horizontal polarization conditions. To deal with the ill-posed difficulties of the inversion, the regularization ideas are introduced into the establishment of the cost function. Based on steepest descent iterations, the optimal value of refractivity could be retrieved quickly at each point over height. Numerical experiments demonstrate that the method works well for low-distance signals, while it is not accurate enough for long-distance propagations. Through curve fitting processing, however, giving a good initial refractivity profile could generally improve the inversions.