A parabolic equation for electromagnetic wave propagation in a random medium is extended to include the depolarization effects in the narrow-angle, forward-scattering setting. Closed-form parabolic equations for propagation of the coherence tensor are derived under a Markov approximation model. For a general partially coherent and partially polarized beam wave, this equation can be reduced to a system of ordinary differential equations, allowing a simple numeric solution. An analytical solution exists for statistically homogeneous waves. Estimates based on the perturbation solution support the common knowledge that the depolarization at the optical frequencies is negligible for atmospheric turbulence propagation. These results indicate that the recently published theory [Opt. Lett. 40, 3077 (2015) [CrossRef] ] is not valid for atmospheric turbulence.
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