Publication 4

On the Difference Between Polarisation and Coherence

A.G. Jones


In the analysis of plane waves - for example in optics or magnetic studies - it is of primary interest to determine the polarisation parameters of the signal from its measured components. Several methods have been presented to deal with this problem in both two- and three-dimensions (Fowler et aI., 1967; McPherron et aI., 1972; Means, 1972; Samson, 1973; Kodera et aI., 1977) but in this letter the remarks are restricted to the two-dimensional case - they are equally valid however in three-dimensions. It should be noted that many workers have applied the techniques of these authors to analyse their own data (for example Paulson, 1968; Rankin and Reddy, 1972; Arthur et aI., 1976; Jones, 1977; Kodera et aI., 1977; Samson, 1977) and have shown the superiority of these forms of frequency domain analyses to the time domain hodogram. However, it has occurred to the author that there is not a widespread appreciation of the (somewhat) subtle difference between the definitions of polarisation and coherence. It is the purpose of this letter to show that the distinction between polarised and unpolarised parts is not necessarily consistent with that between coherent and incoherent parts.


Journal of Geophysics (Zeitschrift fuer Geophysik), 45, 223-229.

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Alan G Jones / 28 February 2010 /