- The role of the atmosphere in target acquisition modeling is investigated experimentally. Three models are compared to experimental results measured on the Golan Heights, Israel. Concepts considered are atmospheric attenuation versus atmospheric blur, and contrast limited (blur-limited) versus noise limited imaging. Results indicate that the role of the atmosphere in target acquisition is blur rather than attenuation, and that for ranges on the order of a kilometer or more, target acquisition is limited by atmospheric blur rather than by hardware. A significant portion of the atmospheric blur derives from small angle forward scattering by aerosols, which actually increases measured temperature differences for ranges up to a few kilometers.