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The structure of atmospheric turbulence and its relationship to the refractive index discontinuities responsible for the scattering of radio waves are discussed. Emphasis is placed more on the nature of the intermittent scatterers observed at upper mesospheric/lower thermospheric altitudes than on volume scattering. The preferred model is of transient patches composed of vortex strings. An overview of the methods used to estimate the rate of dissipation of turbulent energy using MF radar data which emphasizes the advantages of imaging Doppler interferometry is presented, together with a review of pertinent laboratory investigations of coherent structures. An attempt is made to remove the contamination by gravity waves from imaging Doppler interferometry fluctuating velocity data. Emphasis is given to the fact that all radar measurements of turbulent intensity to date are upper estimates, not only because of the presence of gravity wave fluctuations contaminating the data, but also because the turbulence itself is not stationary and homogeneous but intermittent in both space and time. The intermittent nature of the turbulence, in which the refractive index discontinuities responsible for the radar backscatter are associated with decaying, homogeneous turbulent coherent structures, is in contrast to the theory of volume scattering, which assumes the radar pulse volume to be partially filled with stationary, homogeneous turbulence.